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Canadians Split on Influence of Religion on Politics and Public Issues


November 16, 2017

OTTAWA, ON – Canadians are divided almost evenly on the question of how much influence religious and faith communities should have in the country’s public life. A slight majority of 53% of those polled said religious and faith communities should have “not much influence” or “no influence at all.” The rest of the almost 2,000 adults polled (47%) said religious and faith communities should have “some influence” or be “a major influence” on Canadian public life. The Angus Reid Institute poll conducted in partnership with think tank Cardus also found considerable regional differences in outlook, with Western and Atlantic Canada most welcoming of religious voices, while Quebec is most opposed.

“Clearly, there is room in a diverse and tolerant nation for voices of faith in the Canadian public square today,” says Ray Pennings, Cardus Executive Vice President. “Those in authority have an obligation to welcome those voices, while religious communities also have an obligation to make constructive and responsible contributions to politics and public policy.”

Interestingly, Canadians are just as divided on the question of whether religious communities and faith groups are relevant to addressing social issues and challenges today. While 52% of Canadians say religious communities and faith groups are “becoming less relevant” or are “no longer relevant,” 48% say they’re “as relevant as ever” or “more relevant than ever.”

Meanwhile, Canadians are considerably more likely to say that religious and faith communities make a positive contribution to the country than they are to say that their contribution is negative. While 48% of poll respondents said those communities’ contributions were “a mix of good and bad,” 38% answered that their contributions were “very good” or “more good than bad.” Only 14% of Canadians agreed that religious and faith communities were “more bad than good” or “very bad” for Canada.

To see full poll results, please, click here.


The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from October 16 – 23, 2017, among a representative randomized sample of 1,972 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 +/- 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was conducted in partnership with Faith in Canada 150 (a Cardus project) and paid for jointly by ARI and Faith in Canada 150.

About Cardus

Cardus is a non-partisan, not-for-profit public policy think tank focused on the following areas: education, family, work & economics, social cities, end-of-life care, and religious freedom. It conducts independent and original research, produces several periodicals, and regularly stages events with Senior Fellows and interested constituents across Canada and the U.S. To learn more, visit: and follow us on Twitter @cardusca.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus - Director of Communications