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Many British Columbians support government pandemic programs: poll

FILE: The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

New polling data shows British Columbians mostly support provincial and federal COVID-19 programs

Insights West says the level of support is 'unprecedented'

Not as many people support a shorter work week

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Many initiatives introduced by the provincial and federal governments during the pandemic are getting wide-spread support, according to a new poll.

“We’re receiving levels of support that are really unprecedented in Canadian history, levels of up around 85, 87 per cent support for those initiatives,” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West.

“In my 30 years in the polling industry covering public support for literally hundreds of public policy initiatives, I’ve never seen higher support levels for any public program than what I’ve seen for COVID-19 relief efforts,” he says.

Since the health crisis started, Mossop says the research company polled British Columbians on a number of federal and provincial programs and found a lot of support for them.

Polling found about 87 per cent of British Columbians support Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy had the same amount of support, though some people expressed a bit of concern about fraud and the ongoing costs.

“We are still seeing a little bit of erosion of public support based on that,” Mossop says. “Even so, the levels are higher than we would expect.”

The B.C. temporary rent supplement also has high support (85 per cent), and 81 per cent of respondents support the Canadian Commercial Rent Assistance.

While the idea of a four-day work week was met with a lot of applause, polling data finds there is a fair bit of opposition.

Mossop says about 55 per cent of people like the initiative, while 33 per cent opposed it.

Mandatory use of face masks was fairly even, he says with 48 per cent of the people in favour of the idea.

As for contact tracing apps, just under half of British Columbians are against the idea.

“While support for some of the newer public policy ideas is still high, it seems the ones that are perceived to infringe on our right to privacy or personal freedoms seem to be met with greater resistance,” Mossop says. “We have to be careful, as this will make contact tracing less effective than if larger numbers of residence backed those proposals.”