What Do Canadians Value?

Royal Roads University recently announced the results of its Canadian National Values Assessment, conducted by the Todd Thomas Institute for Values-Based Leadership. The survey of 1,251 Canadians reveals "a widely shared set of personal values that emphasize relationships and qualities that contribute to social cohesion, such as honesty, family, and caring." Marilyn Taylor, PhD and Director of the Institute, goes on to say that survey results "also show a high level of agreement among Canadians that our culture is being compromised by a serious level of dysfunction in the form of social risks, economic vulnerability and institutional ineffectiveness."

Other indicators of dysfunction were "bureaucracy, unemployment, crime/violence, wasted resources, corruption, and uncertainty about the future." These results cut across gender, age, regions, public and private sectors and ethnicity. The survey also suggests that respondents are calling for a reduction of bureaucracy, better government accountability and a stronger social safety net. Asked to choose "ten values that they would like to see reflected in Canadian society, the highest responses went to accountability, caring for the elderly, affordable housing, effective health care, caring for the disadvantaged, concern for future generations, poverty reduction, employment opportunities, human rights and governmental effectiveness."

It wasn't all negative however; human rights, freedom of speech, law enforcement and quality of life were identified as significant strengths of our current national culture.

"The results of this assessment will be widely distributed so Canadian individuals, organizations and governments can use this information to help realize our desired future for Canada," said Taylor. It seems that values-based leadership is the mark of a new way of moving all of us toward a kinder, more effective and more responsible social system, one that truly serves Canadians no matter who they are or where they live, work or gather.

The Institute is also planning to facilitate public dialogue, provide subsequent national values assessments and support ongoing applied research on values and their relationship to communities and organizations. For more information about the survey and the Todd Thomas Institute for Values-Based Leadership, please visit (www.royalroads.ca/tti)