Canadian CEOs held to higher standard on important issues: survey


Industry Government Manufacturing Canada CEOs COVID-19 data privacy discrimination human resources wages

69% of Canadians want companies to address discrimination and racism.

TORONTO — Canadians, more so than respondents in other countries surveyed, generally expect the companies they interact with to make value-led decisions on important issues like racism, the environment and wage gaps, according to a new study.

FleishmanHillard Highroad (FHR), a PR firm, in conjunction with FleishmanHillard’s TRUE Global Intelligence practice released the results of COVID-19 Mindset: The Collision of Issues on July 22.

The report analyzes the inflection points taking place around the world as consumers’ thoughts and approaches to their health and finances shift.


Consumer expectations for how their governments, communities, and the companies they deal with regularly interact with change are also examined.

“Consumers are treating each purchase like a pledge of support, and companies are being scrutinized by Canadians like never before,” said Angela Carmichael, president of FleishmanHillard HighRoad.

With recent data from seven major countries, the study shows:

  • 69% believe that companies should take a stand on equality and racism, as opposed to 59% of respondents in other countries.
  • 55% want companies to take a serious stand on data privacy and security, 5 points more than the global average of 50%.
  • 45% think companies should take a stand on income and wage gaps, while only 39% of global respondents feel the same way.
  • 45%  want companies to take a stand on gender discrimination, as opposed to 35% of global respondents.
  • 34% want companies to take a stand on LGBTQ discrimination and equality, 10 points higher than the global response of 24%.

Canadians expectations of CEOs include the following:

  • 60% expect CEOs to take action on health and safety measures to protect their employees and customers, compared to 51% of global respondents.
  • 52% CEOs in their words and actions to show empathy and compassion for their communities, customers and employees, compared to 41% of global respondents.
  • 46% expect CEOs to take a stand on issues related to racial inequality, compared to 32% of global respondents.
  • 38% expects CEOs to take a stand on issues related to violence, compared to the global average of 29%.

Respondents have stronger confidence in public health officials and government compared with the global average:

  • 58% of Canadians believe public health officials and scientists are committed to doing the right thing, as opposed to 49% of global respondents.
  • 66% of Canadians believe that hospitals are committed to doing the right thing, as opposed to 61% of global respondents.
  • Canadians are more likely to say governments are doing the right thing compared with the global average. For the federal government, 43% of Canadians say they are doing the right thing, as opposed to 40% of global respondents. Similarly, 41% of Canadians approve of provincial governments and 36% approve of local governments, while the global average is 36% for both.


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