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Poll: Most Canadians Want Federal Leadership on Climate Change

Survey shows majority support for an effective climate plan and minimum carbon price, even if some provinces disagree

Cover of Canadians' Opinions on Climate Policy and Federal Leadership, Fall 2016
Click to read the polling summary report by Clean Energy Canada.

OTTAWA — New public opinion research shows that two-thirds of Canadians believe it is more important to have a plan to meet Canada’s climate change targets than to have all provincial and territorial premiers agree with that plan (66% agree or somewhat agree). This result comes from a survey of 1,000 Canadians conducted by Nanos Research at the request of Clean Energy Canada.

The survey found that most respondents support or somewhat support the idea of putting a price on carbon emissions (59%). A majority (62%) also support or somewhat support setting a minimum carbon price that applies in all of Canada’s provinces and territories. A substantial majority of respondents also believe that climate change is a significant threat to Canada’s economic future (70% agree or somewhat agree).

Federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers are meeting in Montreal today, in preparation for a first ministers’ meeting on climate change later this year. These survey results provide insight into how Canadians view the key issues at play.


  • 77% support or somewhat support a national plan that ensures Canada achieves its international climate change targets to reduce carbon emissions.
  • 66% support or somewhat support the federal government taking action on its own to meet national climate change targets, if the provinces and territories aren’t doing enough.
  • 77% of respondents agree or somewhat agree that their province has an important responsibility to reduce carbon emissions by 2030.
  • A majority of Canadians (59%) support or somewhat support a price on carbon emissions, and 62% support or somewhat support a minimum carbon price that applies across Canada.


“The public is sending a clear signal: They’re tired of bickering among politicians. Canadians want to see provinces do their part, but they also want the federal government to pick up the slack if the provinces don’t deliver the necessary results.”

— Merran Smith, Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada

“Most Canadians want a credible plan to meet our climate commitments—including a minimum price on carbon that applies across the country—and are expecting federal and provincial leaders to deliver it.”

— Clare Demerse, Federal Policy Advisor at Clean Energy Canada

“The appetite to move forward on environmental issues is quite strong—whether it be strong leadership by the Government of Canada to make sure Canada meets its climate targets, or carbon pricing.”

— Nik Nanos, Chair of Nanos Research


The data was collected using a random-digit-dialing, dual-frame (land- and cell- lines) hybrid telephone and online survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between September 24 and 27. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada. The margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

A detailed report with the full survey questions and results is available here.

View the polling report by Nanos Research here.

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