Overall trust in Canadian businesses dropped to 45%, down from a year ago when it had climbed to 49% and was tied with NGOs as the most trusted institution among its tracking audience of opinion leaders 35-64. Businesses have since dropped to the bottom of the trust barometer, behind NGOs (53%), government (51%) and media (47%).
And the study found that Canadian businesses could lose more trust, with 66% of respondents saying they are less trustful of businesses than they were just a year ago.
“The loss of trust in business is particularly evident in lowered levels of trust this year in the consumer packaged goods, media, and insurance industries,” said Freda Colbourne, president and CEO, Edelman Canada, in a statement.
The study found trust can also influence purchase decisions, with 89% of respondents refusing to buy products or services from a company they distrust, higher than the global response at 77%. And 85% of Canadian respondents said they criticized a distrusted company to a friend or colleague, which is again higher than the global response, at 72%.
A large percentage of Canadian respondents (70%) were also in favour of more government control over business across all industries, versus 65% among global respondents.
The 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer was gathered via 30-minute telephone interviews with 4,475 respondents around the world from November 4th through December 14, 2008. The Canadian sample included 200 people between the ages of 25 to 34, and 150 people between the ages of 35 to 64.
The respondents were college educated, had household incomes in the top quartile for their age group, and consumed business media, news media, and information about public policy several times per week.