Panelists of the Feb. 14 Edelman Trust Barometer presentation in Toronto. From left, Matthew Harrington, Global Chief Operating Officer, Kirstine Stewart, President and Chief Revenue Officer of TribalScale; Hon. Peter MacKay, Partner at Baker McKenzie and Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General; and Rahul Bhardwaj, President & CEO, Institute of Corporate Directors.

Published: February 15th, 2018

The tech industry continues to be Canada’s most trusted, but that trust is slowly declining, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer report.

Since 2014, Canadians’ trust in the tech sector has dropped from 74 points to 71. It’s a trend that can be seen across all sectors in Canada – except for the energy sector, which saw a three point increase since 2014, likely attributed to crashing oil prices and the rebound that followed, according to the report – and it’s providing businesses and CEOs with a window of opportunity to become active agents of change, said Lisa Kimmel, president and CEO of Edelman Canada, who was the keynote speaker at the trust barometer presentation in Toronto Feb. 14.

“It is time for businesses to look beyond financial performance. We need to start leveraging those attributes that have made Canadian companies so trustworthy in the first place: our values and our sense of purpose,” she said.

From left, Peter MacKay, lawyer and politician, and Rahul Bhardwaj, president and CEO of ICD. Photo by Alex Coop.

This suggestion is fueled by survey results that says governmental institutions are the most broken, and that 68 per cent of people think CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for government to impose it. CEOs are being pressured to place a greater emphasis on trust, especially with technological innovations such as AI and automation changing the way the business world operates, said Rahul Bhardwaj, president and CEO of ICD, who was part of the Edelman panel on Wednesday.

“It’s redefining the role of CEOs in terms of how they are as leaders. We know they’re no longer top down, that’s not going to work anymore,” he said. “People want to know that their business leaders have their best interests at heart.”

Public trust among Canadian sectors. Source: 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Canada.

Trust in social media remains low

When Canadians are searching for news, social media is currently the least trusted source of information.

Only 28 per cent of Canadians trust in social media to deliver accurate information, a decrease from 2012’s total of 39 per cent. In addition, 65 per cent of Canadians worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon. Trust in search engines has also gone down. Since 2012 when 62 per cent of people trusted search engine results, only 57 per cent do now.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled more than 33,000 respondents in 28 markets, including 1,500 general population respondents ages 18 and over and 200 informed public respondents in Canada.

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