Nine in Ten (87%) Ontarians Believe Amount of Tree Loss in Ontario Every Year is a Serious Problem

Most (82%) Believe Collective Impact of Tree Loss Over Past Decade has Created a Crisis for Ontario’s Ecosystem

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toronto, ON – Thinking about the amount of trees Ontario has lost over the past decade due to various reasons including urbanization, infestation, fire and climate change, nine in ten (87%) believe that the amount of trees Ontario loses every year constitutes a ‘serious problem’ (40% very/47% somewhat). Just 13% think it’s not a problem (11% not very serious/2% not at all serious).

Moreover, most (82%) Ontarians believe the collective impact these events have had on Ontario’s ecosystem and biosphere has created a ‘crisis’ (25% severe/57% somewhat), according to a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Trees Ontario. Only two in ten (18%) believe that there is ‘really not a crisis at all’.

When the ecosystem/biosphere in Ontario loses trees - over 10,000 hectares of forested land has been lost in the past 10 years due to urbanization alone - efforts are made to renew the loss. But whereas a decade ago Ontario renewal was taking place by planting 20 million trees a year on rural, private lands in the province, in 2007 only 2 million trees were planted mainly due to lack of funding - particularly from non -government agencies. Despite the many competing environmental issues confronting the province, nine in ten (87%) Ontarians believe that a high priority (36% very high/51% somewhat high) should be placed on increasing our collective efforts to plant more trees on rural and private lands in Ontario. Just 13% believe the priority should be somewhat low (11%) or not a priority at all (2%).

Currently retail and service outlets across the province are charging consumers 5 cents for every plastic bag they take from the store. The money collected by the outlet can go to wherever the outlet decides: for example, Loblaws plans to give $1 million a year over three years to the World Wildlife Fund - Canada. Metro Foods is donating $2 million toward an environmental stewardship program in schools in Ontario and Quebec for the 2009/10 school year, and Sobeys Ontario is funding grants of up to $20,000 to support Earth Day Canada projects. Alternatively, these outlets can just keep the money.

Given all of the places that an organization could donate its five-cent bag fee if it wanted to, almost all (91%) Ontarians would be supportive (49% very/42% somewhat) if an outlet decided to designate Trees Ontario—a not-for-profit organization that plants trees in Ontario on rural and private lands—as the recipient of its collected amount. Only one in ten (10%) would not be supportive (7% not really/3% not at all) of Trees Ontario receiving these funds.

And if Ontarians heard that a particular organization was contributing to Trees Ontario, most (70%) say that they would be more likely to think better of that organization and its reputation, while just 4% said they’d be less likely to think better of that company. One quarter (25%) of Ontarians say their opinions would be unaffected.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Trees Ontario from January 6 to 13, 2010. This online survey of 846 adult residents of Ontario was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Ontario been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Sean Simpson
Research Manager
Ipsos Public Affairs
(416) 572-4474

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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Nine in Ten (87%) Ontarians Believe Amount of Tree Loss in Ontario Every Year is a 
Serious Problem


Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs