On April 24, 2017, Dr. Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Global Public Affairs, and Sean Simpson, vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs in Canada, were presenters at the annual internal MNP LLP marketing summit in Calgary. The Ipsos executives’ focus was on the way Canadians have changed and current sentiments.
The author of five books, Dr. Bricker heads up the world’s largest public opinion and social research company. His presentation was on ‘The New Canada.’
“The Canadian population is changing very rapidly,” Dr. Bricker explains. “It’s a combination of the fact that the population is moving from east to west; that it’s becoming much more urban and suburban; that we’re aging, and having far fewer kids than we used to; and that most of the growth in our population is now coming from immigration, almost all of which is from Pacific nations.”
Factors such as women choosing to have fewer children later, increasing longevity and wealth in later years, the growing economic importance of a few Canadian cities from the Greater Toronto Area westward, and Canada’s reliance on economic international immigration are driving these changes.
Alberta, in particular, remains a popular destination. “Calgary is still the fastest growing city in Canada in spite of what’s going on in the oil and gas industry,” Dr. Bricker says. “Over the last two years there have been more people move here than leave.”
Those who come to Alberta, however, tend to be different than those who leave. “Those leaving are inter-provincial migrants – people who have another option in Canada,” Bricker explains. “Whereas the people coming are from other countries. They’re coming with university degrees, money and skills. The people power this represents is going to be a real advantage for Alberta.”
For businesses desiring to market to Canadians, it’s imperative to understand who they are today, Dr. Bricker urges. For example, the fastest growing class of household in Canada is single people living by themselves, in particular women. “And they have a lot of money in many instances,” he says. “They are a larger, more powerful segment of the marketplace.”
Canadians are tolerant, opinionated, demanding and difficult – all at the same time, Dr. Bricker says, and the result of a multicultural, educated populace. “You’re going to have to find a way to have a conversation and engage with them at a level where you actually have a relationship,” Dr. Bricker advises.
“Dr. Bricker’s presentation provided valuable insight to the way Canada is changing from a demographic perspective,” says Randy Mowat, senior vice president of marketing at MNP, “and how we as marketers need to understand these shifts to ensure relevant communications and offers will resonate within the new framework.”
Simpson presented global and Canadian Ipsos data to provide a picture of Canadian sentiment. Of note: only 50 per cent of Canadians think the country is headed in the right direction; Canadians’ top concerns are health care and pocketbook issues such as taxes and jobs; 46 per cent believe they will be worse off than their parents’ generation, and 53 per cent believe their kids will be worse off than they are; and only 40 per cent have a high level of trust in business.