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Research Project

2020 Public Opinion Poll: Canadians’ Attitudes Towards Marine Shipping

In this Report, You’ll Learn About

  • What Canadians think about marine shipping activities in Canada
  • The effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the perceptions
  • The top public safety and environmental concerns related to marine shipping
  • How confident Canadians are in marine shipping and how well it is regulated


Clear Seas, in partnership with the Angus Reid Institute, conducted its third study in its public opinion series measuring the perceptions of Canadians towards the marine shipping industry. The 2020 edition of the nationwide poll builds on the benchmark studies first conducted in 2016 and repeated in 2018.

The latest Clear Seas’ public opinion poll takes into consideration the impact the COVID-19 pandemic might have had on Canadians’ overall awareness about the marine shipping industry and the role it plays in the global and national supply chain. Also new to the 2020 study is the development of a Shipping Confidence Index designed to provide a ranking of the various viewpoints on marine shipping.

Key Takeaway

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.


A vast majority of Canadians have a favourable perception of the marine shipping industry, as 93% of them believe marine shipping to be safe;

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British Columbians and Quebecers tend to view shipping slightly less favourably than the rest of Canada;

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Although 70% of Canadians said they became more aware of the workings of the global supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic, a large portion of Canadians underestimate the role marine shipping plays in their daily lives;

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The transportation of petroleum products in Canadian waters is a continued source of concern for Canadians, as 45% of them say they are worried about this aspect of shipping; An increase of 6% compared to 2018;

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Younger Canadians lean more heavily toward prioritizing environmental protection when it comes to marine shipping, while older generations tend to prioritize economic growth;

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Statements & Quotations

“[…] 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.”

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“[…] Canadians [are] looking for the industry to play a major role in the post-pandemic economy recovery, while also continuing to make strides in environmental protection.”

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“Atlantic Canada and Alberta are home to the highest proportions of Shipping Supporters […] In contrast, Quebec residents are most likely to belong to the Cautious Critics group.”

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Download Figures from the Report

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Presentation of Results

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