The Environics Institute recently released a new report showing a dramatic decline in the proportion of Canadians that say discrimination against either Black or Chinese people is no longer a problem in Canada, compared to the findings from 2019. In fact, only half as many Canadians take this view in 2020.


The new report looks to understand how the killing of George Floyd, an African-American, by white police officers in Minneapolis – sparking not only public protests, but a wider public discussion of anti-Black racism and systemic racism – affected public attitudes in Canada. The report examines responses collected in two surveys that took place at the end of the summer of 2020 and Focus Canada.


While the growing awareness of the reality of racism faced by Black Canadians can be linked to the focus on anti-Black racism and instances of police brutality, the parallel shift in views of discrimination against Chinese Canadians likely stem from publicized incidents of abusive behaviour against Asian people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The report also highlights a significant decline in confidence in the police. While a majority of Canadians continue to express confidence in the police force, since 2010 the level of confidence has fallen to its lowest levels since the question was first asked in Focus Canada in 1988. Those identifying as white are much more likely to express confidence in the police.

About Focus Canada:

Focus Canada is an annual public opinion research program, launched in 1976. This year, the Environics Institute updated its research on Canadian attitudes toward their country’s relations with its international partners. This survey was conducted in partnership with the Faculty of Social Sciences’ IMPACT Project at the University of Ottawa and Century Initiative. This survey is based on telephone interviews conducted (via land line and cellphones) with 2,000 Canadians between September 8 and 23, 2020. A sample of this size drawn from the population produces results accurate to within +/-2.2 percentage points in 19 out of 20 samples.

About A Better Canada: Values and Priorities after COVID-19:

This survey was conducted online with 3,008 Canadians between August 17 and 24, 2020, in partnership with Vancity. (Margin of sampling error is not an applicable measure of accuracy with online surveys conducted with non-probability samples.)

Learn more about the Environics Institute

Find out how we can help with your organization

Explore more Focus Canada insights