4th Annual CanTrust Index Indicates Quebecers’ Trust Has Dropped in Almost all Categories


Montréal (Québec), May 15, 2019 — After being stable for the past three years, the trust Quebecers have in institutions is now decreasing at an alarming rate, according to the 2019 CanTrust Index. Quebecers’ level of trust was previously higher than in other regions of Canada but this year’s study indicates that cracks are beginning to appear in the foundation.


Trust in Institutions Down

A comparison to last year’s CanTrust Index reveals trust in most of society’s major institutions (the media, governments, business, and non-profit organizations) fell to 43%, a decline of 12 percentage points. Trust in information sources (traditional media, social media, online consumer opinions, business websites, etc.) also dropped to reach 44%.

“We attribute the loss of confidence to the many events people have observed in the news, such as the personal information leaks at Facebook and at Cambridge Analytica, the #metoo movement, numerous revelations about tax havens, and accusations of corruption and breach of trust against authority figures. Such information is hitting us from every direction, and it circulates rapidly. It all gets out there for everybody to see. More than ever, companies have an imperative to act properly and to keep a close eye on their reputations,” according to Silvie Letendre, Senior Vice President, Capital-Image, Quebec partner of the communications marketing agency Proof Inc., which conducts the CanTrust Index.


Managing the Decline of Trust

Organizations of every kind should take note of the three main drivers of trust identified by respondents in the survey: job creation/investment in the local community (67%); leaders who are accessible and effective communicators (67%), and; engagement in shared causes and values (64%). Quebecers said they want their leaders to display honesty (92%), integrity (90%) and transparency (89%).

“Everybody is under constant scrutiny today,” Ms. Letendre says, “and it’s crucial that leaders and institutions earn the public’s trust. Communicating openly and in a transparent manner, leveraging shared values and building relationships with the community are fundamentals upon which you can build trust, as long as you do it authentically and consistently.”


Getting the Message Out

Proximity helps build trust in the public’s reception of messaging, with word-of-mouth recommendations remaining dominant (67%) as the most effective. While confidence in media has declined, editorial content is still Quebecers’ second most-trusted source of information (62%), followed closely by product or service samples at 60%.


Quebecers more likely to verify information

The CanTrust Index reveals that Quebecers are more likely than other Canadians (48% vs. 38%) to check additional sources to validate the information they receive. Furthermore, they are more likely to use traditional media sources to perform this check on what they read, see or hear elsewhere. As an example, 14% of Quebecers go to TV news programs for information, compared to 8.8% in the rest of Canada. And 8% of Quebecers use newspapers to corroborate facts, compared to 3% in the rest of Canada. However, 54% of other Canadians turn to search engines to verify information, noticeably higher than the 37% who do so in Québec.


About the 2019 CanTrust Index

CanTrust Index is a Canada-wide survey conducted by the communications agency Proof (based in Toronto) in partnership with Capital-Image of Montréal. Between February 7 and 24, 2019, it surveyed 1,543 Canadians, including 610 Quebecers, 18 years of age and over. The sample is representative of Canada’s population at the national, regional, age, and gender levels.


View the 2019 CanTrust Index video here