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Poll: Fires and heatwaves creating urgency around climate issues

In the latest round of survey work by Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data, we found that a majority of Canadians saw this summer’s forest fires and temperature records as evidence that climate change is happening and action is more urgent.

Across the country, 60% say that temperatures where they live have been hotter than usual due to climate change. Another quarter say temperatures have been hotter but do not ascribe that to climate change. And 17% say the temperatures have not been hotter in their part of the country.

This summer has also seen significant numbers of forest fires. A majority of Canadians (63%) say that these fires have been making them feel that climate change is a more urgent issue to deal with. A quarter (26%) say the fires are upsetting but they do not connect them to climate change and 11% are not concerned about the fires.

In a separate question on electric vehicles, 71% of Canadians say they would like the current $5,000 federal rebate for EVs to be renewed. Both the Liberals and NDP have stated their intention to renew the incentive, while the position of the Conservative party remains unclear.


“Climate change is one of the most prominent issues in this election campaign and the issue for many people is no longer about long term changes happening in distant parts of the world—but real life situations where Canadians live. The pressure to act more aggressively is growing and heat waves and fires, along with floods and storms are a big part of why.”

Bruce Anderson, Chairman, Abacus Data

“For Canadians, climate change is no longer simply an abstract idea. We’ve now entered the era of truly feeling its impacts, and public opinion reflects that. The tone has shifted, and politicians need to read the room. Climate action isn’t only about doing the right thing for the world—it’s also about protecting Canadians and safeguarding their future.”

—Trevor Melanson, Communications Director, Clean Energy Canada


The survey was conducted with 2,000 Canadian adults eligible to vote from September 3 to 6, 2021. A random sample of panellists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

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