Professor David Pettinicchio reports Canadian sentiments on COVID-19 news sources - Toronto Star Article

December 9, 2020 by Kendra Smith

Professor David Pettinicchio recently wrote an article featured in the Toronto Star "Do Canadians trust where they get their news about the COVID-19 pandemic?" In the article, Professor Pettinicchio reported on where Canadians get their information on the current conditions of the pandemic and how they feel about these sources. While Canadians generally trust what government officials report, they do so with some caution. Many Canadians retain skepticism towards elected politicians reporting on COVID-19 developments even. Compared to news outlets south of the border however, Canadians feel that Canadian news outlets are far more trustworthy. Professor Pettinicchio highlights the importance of the way Canadians receive new safety recommendations, information on identifying symptoms, and how to access testing and treatment as we experience our second wave of the pandemic.

David Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto with teaching responsibilities at UTM. His research focuses on social policy, social movements, and political sociology. He has recently begun research on how policy responses to COVID-19 have shaped public perceptions of government and policy, and how people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are economically impacted by the pandemic.

We have included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article in the Toronto Star.

Do Canadians trust where they get their news about the COVID-19 pandemic?

By David Pettinicchio
Michelle Maroto
Mon., Dec. 7, 2020


The ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic means it’s essential to have accurate information about the virus and what to do to combat it.

This is especially true for more at-risk groups, including people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who, as our cross-national online survey of over 1,000 Canadians reveals, are very concerned about getting the virus. 78 per cent of respondents reported being somewhat or very concerned about contracting COVID-19. Another 86 per cent shared concerns that a friend or family members would contract the virus.

For the most part, Canadians feel well-informed about assessing symptoms, accessing testing and getting treatment. 69 per cent of respondents believed that they were very informed about COVID-19 symptoms, and 63 per cent said that they were very informed about what to do if they thought they had contracted COVID-19. Respondents felt less informed regarding how to access COVID-19 testing (42 per cent very informed) and treatment (44 per cent very informed).


Canadians get a lot of their information about the pandemic from Canadian federal and provincial elected officials as well as public health officials — often online, and usually through official government websites. About 58 per cent of respondents trust Canadian public health officials a lot or a great deal. As one respondent put it, “Dr. Tim and Dr. Ella, I’ve been following those podcasts, but within reason — I think after a while, it gets a little depressing. In the beginning I was watching every day; now I catch up every few days.”

Read Professor Pettinicchio's full article in the Toronto Star...