One in Five Canadians Don’t Trust Any Business when it comes to their Health and Safety

A new study by Ipsos finds trust is low, along with a high willingness to halt visiting locations not meeting the mark.

The author(s)

  • Becky Harris Vice President, Service Line Lead, Ipsos Canada
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Toronto, Ontario, July 29, 2020 — As Canadians begin to resume more and more of their day-to-day lives and as areas of the country enter phase 3 and 4, consumer trust in businesses to keep them safe from COVID-19 is low.  According to a study conducted by Ipsos, 1 in 5 Canadians don’t trust any industry for their cleanliness and safety protocols, a slight increase from May, when 1 in 4 indicated a lack of trust. With a wide variance in regulations across the country, including from one municipality to the next, the challenge for businesses to meet customer and employee expectations for safety measures, and communicate these appropriately, is immense.

Which industries do Canadians trust most? Only one-fifth of Canadians put their trust in any sector, with Pharmacies (23%) and Grocery stores (20%) leading the way.  The level of trust with Banks is next at 9%, less than half the level for Pharmacies and Grocers.  All other businesses, from Big Box and Quick Service Restaurants, to Coffee Shops and Gas Stations, had fewer than 5% of Canadians select them as their most trusted industry. Trust levels do vary by gender, with women over 35% more distrustful of any business than men.

This lack of trust also carries over into Canadians’ willingness to continue to visit various businesses if health and safety isn’t up to par.  At least 1 in 5 Canadians would stop visiting essential service providers, such as Grocery stores (21%), Gas Stations (22%), Banks (22%), Pharmacies (24%), and Home Improvement stores (24%) if health and safety wasn’t to their expectations, placing great pressure on businesses to get it right. Businesses providing more discretionary needs such as Individual retailers (34%), Full Service Restaurants (32%), Shopping Malls (32%), Coffee Shops (30%), and Wireless Carriers (30%) have less leeway from Canadians, with at least 3 in 10 indicating they would temporarily stop using this business if health and safety didn’t meet standards. Canadians are the least forgiving of businesses providing entertainment, such as Casinos (48%), Gyms (47%), and Cinemas (39%), with nearly half indicating they would stop visiting altogether if health and safety measures were not in place.

While recognizing that they themselves have some responsibility for health and safety, Canadians expect businesses to step up. Across the country, Canadians assign just under half of the responsibility (46%) to the businesses they are supporting.  Generationally, Boomers (48%) feel it’s more of a businesses’ responsibility, while GenXers (24%) assigned a higher proportion of responsibility to “other” customers.

The verdict is out on whether or not Canadians expect both employees and consumers to wear masks in retailers, restaurants, banks and other businesses. In this most recent study, more Canadians expected employees to wear masks than they did in May, yet the numbers are still less than 50% (48% - up 15 points) and only 36% of consumers feel it is important for customers to wear masks.  With the rules continually changing and an increasing number of municipalities implementing requirements to wear masks indoors, businesses are challenged to implement the best ways to keep their customers and employees safe and to understand their role in enforcement of these new rules.  The importance of masks resonates at a similar level for all age groups, yet they are significantly more important to women (61%) than men (50%), and are most accepted in Ontario (55% vs. National average of 48%).  Availability of hand sanitizer at entrances continues to be the number 1 priority of Canadian customers (55%, up 6 points from May).

As we continue to flatten the curve and push to keep a second wave at bay, more than ever, businesses will need to keep their focus on health and safety and the changes in consumer sentiment and expectations to keep their customers coming back.  

About the Study

As part of the Consumer Health & Safety Check-Up Syndicate an Ipsos survey was conducted overnight July 16th, 2020 on the Ipsos Omnibus online platform among 1,000 adults aged 18-74 in Canada which these results are based on. The sample for this study consists of 1,000 individuals across Canada. The sample can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population over age 18 and under the age of 75. The data is weighted so that each market’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website (

For more information on this Factum, please contact:

Becky Harris
Vice-President, Leader Ipsos Channel Performance
+1 416 324 2309
[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 the 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).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

The author(s)

  • Becky Harris Vice President, Service Line Lead, Ipsos Canada