Canadians pay close attention to international affairs; they are concerned about climate change and famine; they see their nation as a positive force in the world and are prepared to do more to maintain that influence. These are some of the opinions revealed in the results of a recent Environics Institute survey.

In partnership with SFU Public Square at Simon Fraser University, the Canadian International Council, and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, the follow-up to the 2008 Canada’s World Survey was created to determine how Canadian public attitudes, priorities, and actions have evolved over time, as well as address emerging issues. The results are telling of a nation that is pro- free trade, collaboration, and international aid; and feels strongly that we must strive to set a good example on the world stage through our domestic policies.

Although water issues were not explicitly mentioned in the results, several global issues that are closely linked with water came out as top concerns of Canadians. When asked  to rate their level of concern with each of 12 specific global issues, Canadians responded with all 12 issues eliciting clear levels of concern among a majority.  In three cases a majority says they are “very concerned” about global warming/other environmental problems, hunger and famine in the developing world, and terrorism—all of which can relate to water.


Among the key finding of the report:

  • Canadians pay attention to world events, and follow them as closely as they do local and national issues; this has not changed over the past 10 years.
  • Canadians continue to see their own country first and foremost as a positive force in the world, with secondary attention given to such countries as Germany, Great Britain, and Sweden.
  • Four in ten Canadians report making financial donations to organizations that address global issues.
  • Canadians view of their country as a trading nation has strengthened over the past decade. There is a strong and growing consensus that international trade is important for Canadian jobs and the quality of life in the country; close to three-quarters of the population now hold this view.
  • Six in ten Canadians support accepting an increased number of refugees into the country.
  • A strong majority of Canadians believes their country can make a difference in the world by setting an example at home, especially in terms of its policies on immigration and refugees, a view that is now more prominent than a decade ago. Support for human rights at home and for strong environmental policies are also considered important areas that Canada can act upon as a role model for other countries.
  • Global warming and the environment, and war and conflict, continue to be the most salient global issues on the minds of Canadians, but there is also considerable concern about terrorism, hunger and famine, and the spread of nuclear weapons.

The full text of Canada’s World Survey 2018 – Final Report is available for download on the Environics Insitute’s website.


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