What’s the Sentiment Around Businesses in Canada?

by | Apr 1, 2022 | Business, News

The world is changing — that’s something everything can agree on. And with so many global events (and disasters) it’s changing at a fast pace. With that, consumer sentiment is ever-growing and changing as well.

The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity hosted the Edelman Trust Barometer on March 31 to get a better read on what Canadians sentiments are to different sections of society — and some of the shifts might surprise you.

The survey was done in Canada in November 2021 and surveyed 1,500 Canadians.

Canadians Trust Businesses

When it comes down to it, trust within Canada remains stable and neutral.

“When you look at Canada, year-over-year there’s minor change, and we sit within the neutral category,” says Lisa Campbell, global managing director Sector Specialty Agencies and oversees Edelman’s Canadian and Latin American operations. “What we’ve seen is across the board globally, but also in Canada, there’s a significant decline of trust over time in our institutions.”

Out of four institutions looked at, employers were the most trusted, with government being the least trusted.

“The fact of the matter is that in Canada, we are as a country fearful of many issues facing the country,” Campbell says. “Led by job loss, but also climate change, cyber security, losing your freedoms as a citizen and also both racism and prejudice.”

Because of that, fear for the future is growing. When asked if their family would be better off in five years’ time, only 34 per cent of respondents believe that to be true, which is concerning.

Campbell reports that when it comes to trust in leaders, CEOs and government leaders are distrusted, while at the other end of the spectrum, scientists are most trusted followed by coworkers.

“There’s opportunity for business leaders to be viewed as a trusted leader when it comes to information and opportunity,” Campbell says, noting that opportunity lies in addressing key challenges faced as a country.

Seventy-eight per cent of Canadian respondents believe that CEOs need to be personally visible when talking about public policy issues with their stakeholders, and 54 per cent of employees, when looking for a job, expect the CEO to be public and take a stand on issues that they care about.

“With this context, what’s increasingly clear is that business, as an institution and business leaders specifically need to step up their level of engagement,” Campbell says. “Societal leadership has become a key business function, and there’s data to support that.”

A Peek into Food & Beverage

While Campbell didn’t have a full report on the food and beverage industry available, she had a sneak peek into the public perception.

“There’s no question that the issues the sector are facing are very complex,” she says. “You have everything from inflation, rising prices, sustainability concerns, etc.”

Globally, the food and beverage sector fall into the trusted category, Campbell reports, with about 68 per cent of respondents globally trusting the industry.

“When we started looking at sector specific data about 11 years ago, you’ll see that over time for the performance of the food and beverage sector, the needle hasn’t actually moved,” she says. “The sector’s not making strides in terms of building more trust with key stakeholders.”

In Canada, since 2019, Campbell reports a 13-point decline in trust in the sector. She points a whole host of reasons why, such as supply chain issues, rising food costs and the impact of COVID on employees.

“There’s issues that need to be addressed to restore trust in the sector,” Campbell says.

Though that’s concerning, Campbell says there are opportunities because of this data.

“At the end of the day, employees can be your biggest advocates or your biggest detractors,” she says. “Ensuring that you have the trust of your employees through frequent and honest communication and allowing them to feel empowered to help tell the story of the organization is where opportunity lies.”