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Jaywalking, pot smoking and downloading copyrighted material are seen in a very different light.

Vancouver, BC – Most residents of Alberta and British Columbia describe their fellow residents as “law-abiding”, but still become dismayed when they witness violations of existing codes and regulations, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, 86% of Albertans and 88% of British Columbians believe that, all things considered, most residents of their own municipality are law-abiding.

Respondents to this survey were provided with 14 behaviours that may be witnessed on a regular day, and asked to rate how upset each of them makes them.

The survey found near universal dismay for littering (92% of Albertans and 94% of British Columbians say witnessing this act makes them “very upset” or “moderately upset”), parking in a handicapped spot without a decal (91% AB, 90% BC), not picking up dog waste (89% AB, 94% BC), using a hand-held cell phone when driving (86% AB, 92% BC) and throwing cigarette butts on the ground (82% AB, 86% BC).

“The behaviours that disappoint Albertans and British Columbians the most are related to the perceived lack of responsibility of the offenders,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “While most residents look at their community as upstanding, they do become incensed when someone decides that certain regulations do not apply to them.”

At least two-thirds of residents in both provinces also become upset when they see someone speeding on a municipal road or street (76% AB, 79% BC), not wearing a seatbelt when driving a car or riding in a car (71% AB, 76% BC) or smoking in a patio, or close to doorways, open windows, or air intakes (66% AB, 78% BC).


In British Columbia, more than half of residents say they become upset when they see a person riding a bicycle without a helmet (57%) or riding a bicycle on the sidewalk (55%). In Alberta, where the regulations for bike riders are different, residents are not as dismayed (47% for riding without a helmet, 33% for riding on the sidewalk).

British Columbians were more likely to report being upset at people who water their lawns outside permitted hours (52%) than Albertans (38%).

Three behaviours were upsetting for a minority of residents in the two provinces: jaywalking (43% AB, 37% BC), smoking marijuana (45% AB, 41% BC) and downloading or streaming copyrighted material for free (34% AB, 31% BC).


About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 15 to July 18, 2014, among 627 Albertans aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members, and an online study conducted from August 11 to August 12, 2014, among 816 British Columbians aged 18+ who 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 Alberta for age, gender and region. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points, for Alberta and +/- 3.5 percentage points for British Columbia, 19 times out of 20. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations for this study. Click to view the detailed data tabulations for this study: Alberta, British Columbia.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Waferboard