Top 10 Insights from 2017

Last year, Insights West polled Canadians on several interesting and important issues, culminating in over 50 public press releases on topics as diverse as sexual harassment in the workplace, trophy hunting, marijuana legalization, social media habits, housing affordability, diet, political leaders and more. Here is our annual list of “Top 10 Insights” from 2017.

#1 — If you thought #MeToo was just about entertainment, think again
Inspired by the #MeToo movement, our most important poll of 2017 uncovered the experiences of Canadian women in the workplace and revealed some troubling statistics. Half of working women in Canada say they have experienced sexual harassment over their careers, but fewer than three-in-ten chose to report these unfortunate incidents.

#2 — The most competitive election in British Columbia since 1996
In British Columbia, the provincial election ended—as Insights West accurately predicted—in a tie for the popular vote. Voters later expressed their preference for a government arrangement between the New Democrats and Greens, and the throne speech by the BC Liberals did not change their minds.

#3 — Dismay towards trophy hunting leads to policy change in British Columbia
Our research to look into trophy hunting continued in 2017, first with a national survey that outlined a high level of support for legislation to ban the practice. Our pre-election poll in five British Columbia provincial ridings also showed a majority of residents opposed to the trophy hunting of grizzly bears. As the year continued, most British Columbians approved of the provincial government’s decision to ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

#4 — A popular prime minister, with some confusing fiscal policies
Canada’s Prime Minister was still the most popular political leader in the country as 2017 drew to a close, with more than half of residents expressing satisfaction with his work on the global stage. However, the tax changes announced by the federal government during the summer left many Canadians confused. Still, almost two thirds of Canadians agree with the plan to require all family members named as shareholders in a corporation to pass a “reasonableness test” to make sure they are legitimate workers.

#5 — Most Canadians want legal marijuana, but provinces take different approaches
The federal government’s pledge to make marijuana legal in July 2018 has been embraced by most British Columbians, although there are still many questions about how the process will unfold. In Alberta, the government’s proposals to deal with cannabis were resoundingly popular.

#6 — Housing, not the economy, is top of mind in Metro Vancouver 
We first identified housing as a key issue affecting Metro Vancouver in 2014. This year, the proportion of residents who selected “housing, homelessness and poverty” as the main issue facing British Columbia remained high, especially in the Lower Mainland. Our research with post-secondary students showed a high degree of concern with housing during their studies and after graduation, and Millennials also expressed a wish to remain in the Lower Mainland, even in the face of a difficult market.

#7 — Alberta’s right unites, as New Democrats seek to remain in power
In the final months of 2017, the rating of the Government of Alberta on issues such as the environment, public safety and education improved markedly. However, a new party has emerged to challenge the governing New Democrats.

#8 — When it comes to social media, Canadians are ready for change
Once again, our Canadian Social Media Monitor showed that Facebook is the preferred platform for most residents. However, reliance on Instagram and Snapchat is growing across the country. The study also found that users are ready to ban anonymous accounts and a third of Canadians have encountered “fake news” online.

#9 — British Columbians enjoying more local wine, shunning Europe and Australia
We had an opportunity to assess the preferences of British Columbians when it comes to wine, and found that BC wines have significant momentum. The research did not end the “red versus white” debate, but showed that members of Generation X have embraced BC wine more than their counterparts.

#10 — Canadians are aware of healthy foods, but not all of them have tried them
Last year, we decided to release a study on nutrition in Canada. The survey yielded some unexpected results around things like losing weight, organic foods, vitamin supplements, etc. Half of Canadians avoided a food product because of something they saw, read or heard, and two-in-five say they went on a diet with the specific intent of losing weight over the past year.