Canadians Largely Approve of Government Response to COVID-19 Crisis But Half (50%) Believe Canada Should Have Enacted Physical-Distancing Measures Sooner

Despite high approval, PM rating trails national approval of provincial premiers. 

The author(s)
  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, April 8, 2020 — Canadians have given Canada’s leaders high marks in their performance in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but half (50%) feel that Canada should have acted sooner to enact physical-distancing measures, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News.

Canadians are largely approving of the performance of Canada’s leaders when it comes to how they’re responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Three quarters (74%) approve (29% strongly/45% somewhat) of the performance of the Prime Minister in response to the crisis. And while the Prime Minister’s rating is high, it trails the 84% national average approval of the provincial premiers. In fact, in every region of this country, the provincial premier’s performance is assessed more favourably than the Prime Minister’s performance.

Nearly unanimous, 96% of Quebecers approve (70% strongly/26% somewhat) of their premier’s performance, followed by 83% of Ontarians and British Columbians, 78% of residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 77% of Atlantic Canadians and 67% of Albertans who approve of their respective premier’s performance in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Performance of Political Leaders in Response to COVID-19 Crisis


% approve of Prime Minister Trudeau

% approve of their Provincial Premier




British Columbia






Saskatchewan and Manitoba









Atlantic Canada




Nearly all (97%) Liberal voters say they approve of the Prime Minister’s response to COVID-19, but a majority of NDP (71%) and Bloc (54%) supporters also approve. However, partisanship hasn’t been suspended completely as just under half (46%) of Conservative Party voters say they approve of the Prime Minister’s handling of the situation.

Despite these high levels of approval of Canadian government response, Canadians do believe that there is room for improvement – particularly in the early days of Canada’s response. In fact, Canadians are split down the middle about whether Canada could or should have acted earlier:

  • One half (50%) believes that Canada’s gradually-increasing physical-distancing measures have been appropriate given the information available to us at the time and the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
  • One half (50%) believes that Canada should have enacted stricter physical-distancing measures sooner than it did.

However, one person tested did not fare too well among Canadians. Assessing the performance of U.S. President Donald Trump and his response to the crisis, just 16% approve (5% strongly/11% somewhat) of his performance – although approval rises to 34% in Alberta and 32% in Atlantic Canada. Conversely, most (84%) Canadians disapprove (64% strongly/20% somewhat) of Trump’s performance.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 3 and 7, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1006 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2001
[email protected]

About Ipsos

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The author(s)
  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs