One-in-five Canadians making little to no effort to stop coronavirus spread


Canadians enter their sixth month of the COVID-19 pandemic with the lived experience of the spring and summer behind them, and the uncertainty of flu season, fall weather, and back to school looming ahead.

Against this backdrop, messages aimed at reducing community spread of the coronavirus are being followed as scrupulously as ever by some and falling almost entirely on the deaf ears of others.

Analysis of the latest public opinion data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute places Canadians into three broad categories in a measure of their behaviors and mindset, known as the COVID Compliance Index.

The Infection Fighters follow virus suppression behaviours carefully and comprise nearly half the population (47%). The Inconsistent represent just over one-third of Canadians (36%) and take a more half-in, half-out approach to flattening the curve. The remaining one-in-five (18%) are Cynical Spreaders who have expanded their social circles, don’t physically distance and are ambivalent towards hand washing and mask wearing. This last group also professes a clear dislike for the way public health officials and political leaders have handled the pandemic.

More Key Findings:
Age is among the most significant factors in the COVID-19 Compliance Index. The younger Canadians are the less likely they are to follow recommended protocols.

Political affiliation is also correlated with a person’s categorization in the Index. Past CPC voters are four-times more likely to be Cynical Spreaders than those who voted for the Liberal Party or New Democratic Party in 2019.

More than nine-in-ten Infection Fighters are regularly wearing a mask when in contact with non-family members indoors. This drops to 63 per cent among the Inconsistent and just 15 per cent among the Cynical Spreaders.

Of 10 different COVID-19 spreading behaviours (not washing hands, not social distancing, not wearing a mask, etc.) Infection Fighters are engaged in either one or zero. Three-quarters of Cynical Spreaders are engaged in five or more of these activities.


  1. Hi all. For those skeptical about wearing masks, here is the rationale for wearing them. First off, they do not replace the need to practice social distancing and hand washing…we never know who has the virus, except for those who were maybe *just* tested negative. So anything we can do to minimize the spread helps everyone. The virus can be carried and spread by people who have zero symptoms. This is where the masks come in: the masks are effective in preventing the wearer from spreading it to others if the wearer is carrying the virus and has no symptoms (the virus spreads via respiratory droplets). Granted, it doesn’t prevent the wearer from getting it from someone else, but it prevents the spread from you to someone else. The countries with the lowest incidence and deaths from corona virus were countries who used masks from the get go. Taiwan, for one, and I believe Singapore is another. So, the practice is sound. Many believe Canada should have started wearing masks when we first found out about this, but the notion was discouraged by the World Health Organization and therefore federal health authorities. They’ve since changed their position.

  2. Face of stupidity I think people who don’t protect themselves and party with no social distance, should be put on the back of the list if they need medical help before someone who is wearing masking and taking precautions

  3. For the most part everyone is wearing masks and trying to social distance. And considering Algoma has zero cases right now I’m def not complaining. Just wish that the states would do something to contain it in their area cause if they still have a abundance of cases when border opens Sault Ste. Marie is in real trouble

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