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Research Project

2018 Public Opinion Poll: Canadians’ Attitudes Towards Marine Shipping

In this Report, You’ll Learn About

  • Key findings of a new study conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with Clear Seas, on public attitudes about the marine shipping industry
  • Results of the study focus on the importance of shipping, the perceptions of the safety of marine shipping, and the perceptions of shipping regulation and oversight in Canada


The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey in October 2018, among a sample of 2,250 Canadian adults, asking them about their perceptions of the marine shipping industry. This most recent public opinion poll builds on a benchmark study on public attitudes about the shipping industry first conducted in March 2016.

Results of the study show that Canadians see marine shipping as an important industry that is growing in significance. Most Canadians believe shipping to be safe, but oil spills still rank high on the list of safety concerns associated with the industry. Overall, the results of this study show that Canadians are generally confident in the rules and regulations governing marine shipping in their country.

Key Takeaway

As they were in 2016, however, Canadians remain concerned about the prospect of oil and fuel spills, even as they express confidence that shipping is generally safe and well-regulated. British Columbians tend to be most worried about the safety of shipping oil and gas in Canadian waters, while Albertans and those in Atlantic Canada – likely reflecting the prominence of petroleum industries in their provinces – are most confident.


An overwhelming majority of Canadians (94%) say marine shipping is either “very safe” (30%) or “generally safe” (64%).

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A significantly lower number – though still a majority – say they are “very” (18%) or “somewhat” (43%) confident in the safety of shipping petroleum products (61% overall).

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Oil spills are still a top-of-mind concern, with more than half (54%) of Canadians mentioning the potential for such an incident as a major risk associated with the shipping industry.

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