Support for mask mandates, vaccine passports plunge among Canadians

By Michael Talbot and Cormac Mac Sweeney

Despite the new BA.5 variant fueling a summer wave of the resilient COVID-19 virus, Canadians are divided when it comes to a possible return of mask mandates.

That’s the finding from a new Angus Reid Institute study that showed only 51 per cent would support mandating masks again in public spaces.

“What you’re seeing is people saying we’d like to go back to living normally however it may be that the virus is not yet ready for us to continue to live normally,” said Angus Reid Institute president Shachi Kurl.

While the study found opposition to mandatory mask-wearing, an overwhelming majority (74 per cent) of Canadians believe masks are effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Support for mask mandates dropped in all parts of the country, but it has the most support in Atlantic Canada and the least in Alberta.

Kurl said she’s not sure if the survey marks a shift in the attitudes of Canadians toward public health measures or if this is part of a summer dip and people will change their minds in the fall if the numbers get worse.

Vaccine passports have also become increasingly unpopular across the nation.

“Consider that last September, amid the fourth wave of the virus, seven-in-ten Canadians (70 per cent) said they would support a vaccine passport in their community to require residents to show proof of inoculation to enter larger public spaces; this concept is now supported by one-in-four (25 per cent),” Angus Reid said in a release.

More key findings from the Angus Reid study:

  • Three in ten say they are wearing a mask when they are inside places like grocery stores, banks or movie theatres “most” or “all of the time”. Half (53 per cent) say they are doing so “rarely” or “never.


  • Past Conservative voters are much less likely to find masking, vaccination, and social distancing effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 than those who supported the Liberals, NDP or Bloc Québécois in last year’s federal election.


  • Half of Canadians (47 per cent) are frustrated by a lack of COVID-19 data in their province. A similar number (44%) say this doesn’t bother them and that they would not get many benefits from more data.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from July 13 – 17, 2022, among a representative randomized sample of 1,602 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

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