April 25


What does Canada’s World Survey 2018 tell us?

By Tracey Arial

April 25, 2018

Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary Research, Canada's World Survey 2018, Environics Institute for Survey Research, Simon Fraser University Public Square, the Canadian International Council

Canadians value multiculturalism, welcome refugees and send more money overseas than our government does. Those are just a few of the results shown by responses to Canada’s World Survey 2018.

The Environics Institute for Survey Research, the Canadian International Council, Simon Fraser University Public Square and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary Research released results of a 1501-person telephone survey last week.

For a copy of the full report and more information, refer the World Survey 2018 webpage.

I spoke to Keith Neuman, the Executive Director of Environics about the national survey the day after the survey came out. We spoke about multiculturalism, an incredibly welcoming attitude towards refugees and the astonishing fact that individual Canadians send 21 billion dollars overseas every two years, a figure that doubles the country’s national investment in development aid.

We also spoke about free trade, the Canadian view of the White House and why American-born Neuman sees himself as Canadian after living here and doing research for decades.

Engagement Overseas

One in five Canadians send money abroad and the average amount is about twenty-five hundred dollars. So if you add all these numbers up over a two-year period, it amounts to 21 billion dollars…And if you look at the federal government’s official development assistance budget over two years it’s about half that…So Canadians are having one of the ways that they are making a difference in the world is by individual donations overseas either to families or to non-profit organizations.

Top Two Concerns

 The top two concerns were the environment, including global warming and pollution and war.

White House

I think overall opinions in United States tend to be much more positive than negative. But we found that it is sensitive to U.S. politics and news in the White House. And we found in the 80s and 90s that 70 percent of Canadians were positive about the United States. That really changed significantly when George W. Bush the House and the U.S. were some very aggressive foreign policy the Middle East and elsewhere. And we saw that opinion favorable opinion number dipped to about 50 percent when Obama came in. These opinions climbed back up to where they were before it was around 70 percent. And then more recently shortly after Donald Trump took over the White House he found that it pretty plummeted to less than 50 percent


The only country in the world that has private sponsorship of refugees is also the only one that can really use more than in every other country. Refugees are stopped by the government.

What is a Canadian?

You know I think part of the genius of Canada is it doesn’t have an overtly set identity. I think that that’s actually a strength. It makes it difficult to tell a story but it’s actually I think one of the things that have served Canada in good stead because we don’t have such a defining character or expectation that people have to become something…To me, it’s living in a place that is more understated and more civilized and just operating at a lower slower speed compared to the U.S. And you know that is I think becoming increasingly valuable as a cultural trait in a world that’s moving way too fast. You know it gets to too many extremes in different ways in different places. So Canada is in a way a better place to live than it is to visit.



Tracey Arial

About the author

Tracey Arial helps Canadians create meaningful lives with true stories about ancestors, businesses, communities and ecology.

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