New Canadian study: “no recovery until COVID-19 controlled everywhere”

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  • 90% of Canadians fear COVID-19 wave returning to Canada, study finds
  • Ahead of vaccine, most recognize the extreme threat in overcrowded, unsanitary refugee camps
World Vision staff and volunteers joined with local hospital staff, village health volunteers, to distribute PPE and information to help local communities in Thailand fight COVID-19. Canadians understand all too well that we need to end the pandemic for people everywhere. Photo: Chanjira Parknam
(June 18, 2020)
A new poll released by World Vision reveals that Canadians recognize that life won’t return to normal unless the pandemic is stopped everywhere. As the virus continues to spread, the findings also revealed that Canadians are very aware of the COVID-19 risk to those living in crowded conditions like refugee camps, and most are concerned about the resulting potential of a second wave of the virus. 

The Abacus Data survey commissioned by World Vision* lands ahead of World Refugee Day, to explore how Canadians are feeling about the pandemic through a global lens, and to learn more about Canadian sentiment towards an increased Government of Canada role in the global pandemic response. 

Key findings include:
  • 97% say density makes COVID-19 riskier for persons living in refugee camps.
  • 82% say that “before a vaccine is found, unless COVID-19 is controlled in all parts of the world, we won’t really be able to return to normal life here”.
  • 88% say that our world is so interconnected that an outbreak in another part of the world could impact Canadians again. 
  • 71% believe an outbreak in refugee camps is likely to spread the virus back to Canada. 
“The pandemic has proven to Canadians how interconnected our world really is,” said David Coletto, CEO, Abacus Data. “The majority of us recognize the extreme threat to people living in refugee camps and other highly vulnerable places. Canadians also understand that there will be no recovery until COVID-19 is controlled everywhere because of the risk of another pandemic wave coming back to Canada. That’s why most Canadians would support our government doing more globally to truly put an end to this.” 

The Abacus Data study focused on Canadian views about the extreme risk to people living in refugee and displacement camps as well as the direct connection between global health threats and the safety of Canadians. 

“We’re witnessing the globalization of public health. To have a healthy Canada, we need a healthy world,” said Michael Messenger, President and CEO, World Vision Canada. “As Canadians, we all have a responsibility to help the world’s most vulnerable people fight this pandemic, otherwise the consequences will be deadly for millions of people, particularly children. As a country, our principles and commitments to human rights and international cooperation should spur us to act. But we should listen to Canadians and stress there will also be consequences for Canadians if we don’t think globally. Even as we get cases under control and ease the lockdown in Canada, we could face waves of COVID-19 because of outbreaks in places that aren’t currently equipped to stop the spread.”

World Vision has launched its largest crisis response in its 70-year history, reaching over 36 million people. The agency has also warned that up to 30 million children could die from secondary impacts to health systems and food security and that 86 million could suffer from violence directly linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

*The survey was conducted with 2,087 Canadian adults between the dates of May 14 to 19, 2020.