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In post-COVID World, Canadians Look for Marine Shipping Industry to Help Rebuild Economy but Balance Environmental Protection


Favourability of marine shipping in Canada remains high, four-in-five view industry positively

post pandemic recovery in the marine shipping industry survey results
The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) conducted an online survey from October 5–9, 2020 among a representative randomized sample of 2,277 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The link to the study’s detailed tables is provided at the end of this release.


Vancouver, BC, Nov. 30, 2020 – The invisible strings that tie the globe together have been more evident this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has strained trading networks and challenged the transport of goods. Indeed, seven-in-ten Canadians say they’ve learned more about the supply chain this year as they have dealt with shortages of medicines, personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, and even household goods like toilet paper.

A new study from the Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, casts its focus into the future and finds Canadians looking for the industry to play a major role in the post-pandemic economic recovery, while also continuing to make strides in environmental protection. Two-in-five Canadians say the economic side of this equation is paramount, while one-quarter (23%) say environmental aspects are key. In the middle are the largest number – 37 per cent – who feel that balancing both is the best way to proceed.

The shipping industry heads into another year of likely challenges with positive ratings from most Canadians. Building on what now is a five-year trend, four-in-five residents say they have a favourable view of marine shipping. Further, more than half (54%) say that the industry’s importance has grown over the past 15–20 years in their estimation.

Survey results and full report available here.

More Key Findings:

  • An overwhelming majority of Canadians (92%) continue to view marine shipping as either “very safe” (25%) or “generally safe” (67%)
  • However, confidence in shipping of petroleum products appears to be declining with 45 per cent of Canadians voicing concern – up six points from 2018
  • Younger Canadians lean more heavily toward prioritizing environmental protection than economic growth when it comes to marine shipping. Canadians 35 years of age and older prefer an economic focus
  • When asked to estimate the proportion of goods in their day-to-day lives that rely on marine shipping, half of Canadians underestimate the total
  • Most Canadians remain confident in the rules and regulations governing marine shipping safety in Canada today. Seven-in-ten agree with this, a number that has stayed relatively consistent since 2016

Shipping Confidence Index

In order to better understand the numerous viewpoints on marine shipping in Canada, researchers at the Angus Reid Institute created an index based on variables associated with overall perceptions of the industry, and its role in the economy, international trade, and environmental protection. The Shipping Confidence Index is comprised of three groups: Shipping Supporters, Maritime Moderates, and Cautious Critics. Read the full report to learn how viewpoints vary according to age and region.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here. For detailed results by specific age groups, click here.

Register for Briefing

Details about the study’s findings will be provided at a press briefing on November 30, 2020 at 10:00 AM (PST)-1:00 PM (EST). To attend the briefing register here.

About the Angus Reid Institute

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

About Clear Seas

Clear Seas is a not-for-profit independent research centre that provides impartial information on marine shipping in Canada to policy makers and the public. Its mandate is to initiate and interpret research, analyze policies, identify best practices, share information and facilitate dialogue. The organization’s research agenda is defined internally in response to current issues, reviewed by a research advisory committee, and approved by a board of directors. All reports are available at

Edward Downing
Director of Communications
Tel.: (604) 408-1648 ext. 106 or cell (604) 817-3058

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