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Seven-in-ten residents ay they have to deal with rudeness a few times a month when driving or riding in a vehicle.

Vancouver, BC – British Columbians identify a deterioration in the way people behave with each other, and most point the finger at parents and technology for the loss of courtesy, a new Insights West poll conducted in partnership with the Vancouver Sun has found.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample shows that three-in-five British Columbians (62%) admit that, compared to five years ago, people have become less polite. In addition, one third of residents (33%) say that the individuals they deal with on a daily basis say “please” and “thank you” less often than before.

When asked about the probable causes of the apparent decline in civility, at least three-in-four British Columbians think parents who fail to teach their children proper behavior are responsible (93%), along with technology that enables people to talk face-to-face less often (84%), the fact that people are too busy with their lives (79%), the influence of television and movies (78%) and poor examples from celebrities and other public figures (76%).

Fewer British Columbians believe teachers and schools failing to teach students proper behavior (59%) and politicians engaging in personal attacks (55%) are to blame for the current state of affairs.

Over the course of the past month, British Columbians report being exposed to several rude behaviours, such as someone swearing in public (87%), someone checking their phone or texting during a meeting or social event (86%), someone littering (78%), and parents looking the other way while their children behaved badly (76%).

On the positive side, four-in-five British Columbians (80%) witnessed a person holding a door open for a stranger—but only 45 per cent saw someone give up their seat for an individual who is disabled, pregnant or elderly.

Across the province, 72 per cent of residents say they deal with someone being rude and/or impolite at least a few times a month when driving or riding in a car, while 50 per cent had similar experiences while shopping at a store, and 43 per cent while walking on the street. Almost half of British Columbians who work at an office (48%) or use public transit (47%) also face rudeness at least a few times a month.

“Technology seems to be playing a prominent role in making British Columbians feel that we’ve forgotten our manners,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “Large proportions of residents complain of people using their cell phones at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons, and three-in-five social media users have to deal with someone rude or impolite a few times a month.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.


About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 26 to October 2, 2013, among 704 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.


For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Nomadic Lass