One Quarter (26%) of Canadians Admit They’re Not Practicing Physical Distancing as Recommended

Nearly Four in Ten (37%) Not Confident Canadians are Taking Physical Distancing Seriously

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, April 8, 2020 — Despite acknowledging that physical distancing can be effective, many Canadians worry that some are not taking it seriously, and one quarter (26%) report that they are not following the recommendations from public-health officials to their full extent, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News.

Most (95%) Canadians agree (50% strongly/45% somewhat) that physical distancing can be effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada, and nearly three quarters (72%) agree (17% strongly/55% somewhat) that they’re confident that Canada will control COVID-19 infections enough to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed.

However, only 63% agree that they’re confident (11% strongly /52% somewhat) that most Canadians are taking physical-distancing measures seriously, leaving 37% disagreeing (7% strongly/29% somewhat) that most Canadians are taking it seriously. Six in ten (59%) residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and one half in Atlantic Canada (48%) are not confident Canadians are taking physical-distancing seriously, while fewer residents of BC (39%), Ontario (39%), Alberta (35%) and Quebec (23%) are not confident.

While most (94%) acknowledge that COVID-19 is a serious health crisis in Canada, many (26%) appear not to be following strict physical-distancing measures recommended by public-health authorities. This drops to 19% among those aged 55+, is 27% among those aged 35-54, and rises to 32% among those aged 18-34.


  • 3% say they’re carrying on as normal, going to work, socializing and interacting as normal.
  • 3% are reducing contact with others, but still going out and socializing in person with friends or family.
  • 20% are limiting personal contact to just a few people outside of their home, and going out a few days a week to shop or get food.

This leaves 60% who are going out once a week to get groceries but otherwise are staying at home with no personal contact with others, and 15% who are self-quarantining at home and not going out at all.

Roughly one in ten (12%) Canadians say they know someone who has been infected with COVID-19, with 18-34 year olds most likely to say so (16%). Interestingly, those who know someone with COVID-19 are more likely (34%) to admit that they are not fully practicing physical distancing when compared to those who don’t know anybody with COVID-19 (24%). In fact, 8% of those who know someone with COVID-19 are carrying on as normal and not modifying their behaviour at all, compared to 2% of those who don’t know anybody are carrying on as normal.



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

Ipsos is the world’s third-largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts, and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions, and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

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The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs