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BC Residents Less Likely To Be Following COVID-19 Restrictions than Other Provinces

Vancouver, BC —With spring break only a few weeks away, a significant number of Canadians are planning at least some activities on spring break that run counter to the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines set by their province. When looking at underlying motivators for rule-breaking, pandemic fatigue and other justifications of behaviour are common. BC residents appear to be the worst in the country when it comes to the proportion of residents who are not following all of the rules all of the time.

When it comes to following provincial restrictions and guidelines, only about one-half (48%) of Canadians claim to be following all of them all of the time, and the remainder are breaking the rules to some degree or another. A further 36% claim that they follow nearly all of the restrictions and rules nearly all of the time, while only a small proportion are following them most of the time (8%), and few claim to be breaking rules more blatantly that that (7% following the rules some of the time, rarely or never).

A surprising finding is that BC residents are least likely to feel that they are following all of the rules and regulations all of the time relative to residents of other provinces in the country. Only 34% of BC residents claim they are following all of the rules all of the time, which is 14 points to 22 points lower than in other regions. Instead, British Columbians have more people (48% compared to between 24% and 36% in other regions) following the restrictions only ‘nearly all the time’.

When it comes to specific spring break activities, there’s a wide range of actions that many Canadians are contemplating that would constitute bending or breaking the rules put in place by various provincial governments. We asked about a list of 11 possible spring break activities and found that 63% are considering doing at least some of the activities on the list; only 37% will ‘definitely not’ or ‘probably not’ do any of them. Topping the list is the finding that about one-half of Canadians are considering having an indoor visit with family members (50% ‘definitely will’, ‘probably will’ or ‘might or might not’) or friends (49%) outside of their immediate household during the spring break period. Between one quarter and one-in-three Canadians are contemplating driving to a vacation destination (30%), staying in a hotel (28%) or their vacation property (24%) or skiing at a resort outside their community (23%). Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 5 Canadians are thinking of taking a flight to go visit family within their province (19%), a flight to a vacation in Canada (18%), a flight to a vacation destination outside Canada (16%) or elsewhere in Canada to visit relatives (16%). Rule-breaking considerations are substantially higher among 18-34 year olds relative to any other age group (numbers are 10 to 20 points or even higher compared 35-54, and 55+ year olds). Albertans tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to rule-breaking spring break intentions. BC residents are the least likely among any in Canada to take a flight of any kind, particularly compared to Ontarians and English Quebecers.

Insights West compiled a list of eight possible reasons that some Canadians are not following the rules and regulations all of the time and found ranging levels of agreement that help us understand some of the underlying motivators for breaking the rules. The largest proportion (39%) they feel they can break the rules occasionally because they keep their bubble small and still feel like they are doing the right thing—a sentiment that is pretty consistent across the country. A similarly high percentage feel that they can occasionally visit members outside their household because they keep their bubble small (36%). Some that don’t always follow all of the rules indicate they are careful when they break them (34%).

Pandemic fatigue is also a factor in some of the rule-breaking and bending that is occurring across the country. One-third (32%) believe that in order to stay happy and mentally healthy, they are breaking the rules occasionally. Taking it a step further, 28% say they are tired of the all the rules and recommendations, so they feel it is OK to bend them.

Other reasons for rule-breaking and bending is confusion over the rules (27%), feeling the rules are unnecessary, so they bend them (23%), and believing their health risk if they get COVID-19 is low, therefore they feel entitled to bend the rules (18%).

“Early indications are that a significant number of Canadians are planning to bend the rules during spring break and beliefs around it being OK to bend those rules are likely the reason for the slow decline in the COVID-19 numbers” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “What is interesting is the wide number of reasons Canadians give in justifying their rule-breaking behaviour. When it comes down to it, less than half of us are serious about following all of the rules, and that is problematic if we want to see a faster decline of the numbers”
About Insights West:

Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 350 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 25 out of 26 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted February 3-7, 2021 among a sample of 1,614 English-speaking Canadians. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
Insights West