The COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, global outcry over systemic racism and political instability have left Canada facing a crisis in leadership and expert credibility. 

For Canadian institutions and leaders looking to build trust amongst their stakeholders, here are ten insights from the 2021 Barometer to keep in-mind:

Insight One: Spring trust bubble bursts with no institution remaining in the trusted category.

In Spring 2020, business, government and NGOs all saw a spike in trust, moving them into the trusted category among the Canadian general population. Since then, the trust bubble has burst, with all institutions giving back most (if not all) of the gains they saw and returning to the neutral zone. Government saw the biggest increase in the Spring with a 20-point increase; however, despite declining 11 points in the past six months, government remains the most trusted institution in Canada.

Insight Two: Societal leaders are not trusted to do what is right.

Amid urgent problems and a year of crisis, leadership is failing. Government leaders, CEOs and religious leaders are not trusted to do what is right. Instead, we’re seeing Canadians look to experts and those that are local – like people in their community – to help tackle the issues that matter most to them. In fact, 50% of respondents worry that business leaders are purposely trying to mislead them, and 46% believe the same about government leaders – this is a wake-up call for leaders, who need to take action to build trust amongst their stakeholders.

Insight Three: Trust in most information sources at record lows.

Not one information source – traditional media (55%), search engines (47%), owned (32%) or social media (22%) – is trusted in Canada and the latter three are distrusted. All four information sources have witnessed a decline in trust compared to last year.

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