Trust in the news is substantially up in Canada, new report finds

Reuters Institute Digital News report finds that Canadians trust their news more compared to other nations. Continue Reading Trust in the news is substantially up in Canada, new report finds

Canadians have a lot of trust in their news — more than can be found in most other countries.

According to the 2018 edition of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, 58 per cent of Canadians trust in news overall, up nine points from last year. When asked about the news they personally use, 63 per cent of people say they trust it.

The most trusted brands for Anglophones are also the most popular news brands. CTV was the most trusted, followed by CBC, Global News and the Globe and Mail.

For Francophones, Radio-Canada was the most trusted followed by La Presse. “The TVA network is in fourth place, although widely more popular as a news source, possibly because of its more populist and opinionated content,” wrote Colette Brin, author of the Canadian section. Among English language brands, right wing brand The Rebel appeared at the bottom of the list.

The report overall found there are signs of hope for news media worldwide. “Change is in the air with many media companies shifting models towards higher quality content and more emphasis on reader payment,” wrote Nic Newman, research associate at the Reuters Institute.

“Yet these changes are fragile, unevenly distributed, and come on top of many years of digital disruption, which has undermined confidence of both publishers and consumers,” he continued. “Our data show that consumer trust in news remains worryingly low in most countries, often linked to high levels of media polarisation, and the perception of undue political influence.”

The average level of trust was 44 per cent. Finland and Portugal had the highest trust levels, while Greece and South Korea had the lowest levels of trust. Canada ranked fifth overall in trust levels.

The report also sheds light on how Canadians are getting their news. Most people are still accessing news online via computers rather than smartphones. The percentage of people who get their news from print sources continues to fall year over year.

Only nine per cent of Canadians polled paid for news in 2018, up slightly from the previous year but still low compared to other nations. But many more — 29 per cent — use an adblocker.

Facebook continues to be the top social media app used in Canada, followed by YouTube and Twitter. However, the use of social media for news has started to fall in several nations because of the decline of discovery of news on Facebook. “It is worth noting that average Facebook use for any purpose has remained broadly static since 2015, while its use for news has declined,” the report states. “This suggests either a fall in general engagement or a reduction in exposure to news by the Facebook algorithm, as the company prioritises interactions with family and friends and tries to limit the impact of ‘fake’ news.”

The survey’s findings correspond with a recent EKOS poll commissioned by the CRTC, which found “Canadians place strong importance on news programming relative to other genres of audio and/or video programming” and that “three in four (75 per cent) respondents in the representative survey indicated that national and international news is of importance to them personally and just over two-thirds (69 per cent) indicated that local news is of importance.”

H.G. Watson was J-Source's managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at