SOCIETAL LEADERSHIP IS NOW A CORE FUNCTION OF BUSINESS
We have studied trust for more than 20 years and believe that it is the ultimate currency in the relationship that all institutions—business, governments, NGOs and media—build with their stakeholders.
The second year of the global pandemic has put institutions to the test in unprecedented ways. We have seen an increase in the expectations Canadians have for CEOs to lead on societal issues; persistent societal fears which has led to a lack of economic optimism; and the battle for truth, alongside the rise of disinformation.
Rebuilding trust is the key to societal stability, and to restoring the ability for the four institutions to function well and address societal challenges. Business must recognize that its societal role is here to stay. Canadians want more business leadership, not less.
Canadian Trust Insights
- Trust in our institutions is returning to pre-pandemic levels – Despite turbulence over the last year, trust in our institutions has been relatively stable, with either no changes or slight decreases in trust across institutions since 2021. Trust in NGOs sits at 55% (no change), business at 54% (no change), government at 53% (down six points) and media at 52% (down two points). This is a drastic decline from levels of trust for almost all institutions since May 2020.
- Employers are the most trusted and the most credible – At a time when no institution is trusted, my employer continues to be a mainstay of trust, sitting at 76% trusted. In fact, the most believable source of information in Canada is my employer communications, ahead of national government, traditional media and my social media feed, indicating that the relationship between employer and employee is incredibly important.
- Majority of Canadians worry they are being misled by societal leaders – Around two thirds of Canadians believe journalists and reporters (61%) and business leaders (60%) are purposely trying to mislead them, with government not far behind (58%). Further, less than half of Canadians view government leaders and CEOs as trustworthy (government leaders at 43% and CEOs at 36%).