New Poll Suggests More Than Half of Canadians Are Worried About Issues at Airports

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
July 12, 2022 Updated: July 12, 2022

Most Canadians believe the country is in a recession and that prices are going to continue to rise for the foreseeable future, according to a new poll.

A wide-ranging survey by Leger asked Canadians and Americans about issues including travel plans, airport delays and inflation.

More than 80 percent of Canadian respondents said they believe prices will keep going up, and 59 percent say they think Canada is in an economic recession.

That’s likely not good news for economists or business owners, said Leger vice-president Andrew Enns.

“It’s sort of a proxy question for how you feel about the economy,” he said.

“Between that and the rising inflation and the tightening of household budgets, that probably is not going to be something that’s going to encourage much consumer spending.”

The outlook was similarly bleak south of the border, where 64 percent said the U.S. is in a recession, while 19 percent said they didn’t know. But only 66 percent of Americans feel prices will continue going up, and 16 percent said things are starting to get better.

The online survey was completed by 1,538 Canadians and 1,002 Americans between July 8 and 10. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered truly random samples.

Flight cancellations, delays and long lineups have 53 percent of Canadian respondents concerned about airport travel, while 43 percent said they’re not concerned and only three percent said they were unaware of the problems.

A similarly small proportion, four percent, said they weren’t aware of long lineups and delays in getting passports—likely evidence of how prominent both issues have been in the news in recent months.

Despite the many news stories about passport delays, less than half of Canadians polled said they were concerned about the issue, while 50 percent said it’s not concerning.

“I think to be really sort of seized by that issue, you have to either have a trip coming up and probably also need to be looking at your passport expiration date,” Enns said.

More than half of Canadians who took the survey said they plan to travel within their own province, and another 28 percent said they will travel within Canada. Just over a quarter said they’ll be heading abroad, with 16 percent of travellers going to the U.S.

American respondents weren’t asked about the passport issue, but 45 percent of them said they were concerned about travel issues. Another 13 percent said they weren’t aware of the problem.

Just 18 percent said that’s caused them to significantly change their vacation plans. People under 35 were more likely to say they’re changing their plans, and also more likely to be planning to travel overseas.

Enns said that number—nearly one in five—won’t sit well with the tourism sector.

“If you’re the tourism operator, running the bed and breakfast or the resorts, and finally we’ve got our first summer where we’re free and clear of COVID, you probably aren’t thrilled to see some of these stories,” he said.

There seems to be general agreement about what the problem is, with 68 percent of Canadians and 54 percent of Americans saying they think staffing shortages are to blame.

But 38 percent of American respondents say it’s the airlines that are short-handed, while 43 percent of Canadians think it’s the airports themselves.

A similar proportion—18 percent in Canada and 17 percent in the U.S.—laid the blame on government COVID-19 restrictions.

People from the Prairies were more likely to believe the pandemic rules are the problem, and those from Atlantic Canada and Quebec were more likely to blame airports.

By Sarah Ritchie