Views of Canadians on energy, climate change, and the job done by the Government in Canada

The University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy program uses the convening power of the university to bring together academic researchers and senior decision-makers from industry, government, Indigenous communities, local communities and environmental organizations to determine how to strengthen public confidence in energy decision-making.

Mockup of report.

The survey

The research gauged the opinions among Canadians on the job done by governments in Canada on meeting climate change targets, ensuring energy affordability and security, and balancing Canada’s economic, environmental and energy objectives. Canadians were also asked about their views on the best time to address climate change, the level of agreement on climate action in Canada, Canada’s credibility on the international stage when it comes to environmental policies, and where Canada should be on meeting its climate change targets compared to other major economies.

Survey results (PDF, 1.9MB)

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,001 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between May 26th and 30th, 2022 as part of an omnibus survey.

The analysis

1. Awareness of 'net zero' target

About three in four Canadians have heard about Canada’s ‘net zero’ climate change target. Those who have heard of Canada’s ‘net zero’ target most often think the term ‘net zero’ means not emitting more carbon than is collected or balancing out the impact (54%). Those who have not heard about the ‘net zero’ target most often report they are unsure what the term means (27%), followed by reducing or eliminating carbon emissions (24%).

2. Agreement with expanding Canada's oil and gas exports

About six in ten Canadians agree (33%) or somewhat agree (25%) that Canada should expand oil and gas exports to help the world have more secure and reliable energy supplies, while one in three disagree (19%) or somewhat disagree (15%). Residents from the Prairies (52%) and men (42%) are most likely to agree with this.

3. Agreement with Canada's exports combatting global climate change

About two in three Canadians agree (35%) or somewhat agree (32%) that exports from Canada’s oil and gas sector can contribute to combatting global climate change if our exports displace energy sources in other countries that are more damaging to the climate. This is consistent with the previous wave in 2019. Residents of the Prairies (54%) and B.C. (40%) are most likely to agree with this.

4. Timing to be ambitious in addressing climate change

About one in two Canadians think it is the best time (score of 7-10) (51%) for Canada to be ambitious in addressing climate change even if there are costs to the economy, a marginal decrease from the previous wave in February 2022 (54%). Residents of Quebec are most likely to rate now as the best time for Canada to be ambitious (61%).

5. Job done by government

Overall, Canadians score governments very poorly on key aspects of energy and climate decision-making, including providing an attractive investment environment for clean energy projects, collaborating with one another to balance economic, environmental and energy objectives, and ensuring energy is affordable.