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Study: Fear of COVID-19 related stigmatization

Released: 2020-07-15

Approximately one in five participants in a recent survey said they fear being exposed to COVID-19-related stigmatization as Canadians and the economy emerge from months of physical distancing, according to a new study titled "Fear of COVID-19 related stigmatization."

Many reasons can be given by those who report feeling stigmatized in the context of COVID-19. For some, it is because of their personal characteristics, such as racial identity for example, or because of an underlying health condition. For others, it can be because of their work environment, or because of personal practices or choices.

Almost half of those who feared being stigmatized said it was because they did not wear a mask at all times. A recent report suggested that about one-third of Canadians did not intend to wear a mask in public spaces where physical distancing is difficult. At the time of this release, however, several administrations across Canada have introduced regulations to make wearing a mask mandatory in all indoor public places.

Just over one-fifth of those who feared being stigmatized said that it was because they had a health condition unrelated to COVID-19 such as seasonal allergies, but with similar symptoms such as coughing or sneezing.

About one in five people who reported that they feared being stigmatized said that it was because of their racial identity, while one in ten said that it was because they worked in a hospital or in another health care facility, such as a nursing home or a long-term care residence.

Immigrants (29%) were almost twice as likely as the Canadian-born (17%) to report that they were afraid of being stigmatized. Among immigrants, racial identity was the reason most frequently given for the fear of unwanted or intimidating acts. Not wearing a mask all the time was the reason most frequently given by the Canadian-born.

  Note to readers

The data from this release are from the new Canadian Perspective Survey Series (CPSS). The CPSS is a web panel online survey that was developed by Statistics Canada to get timely information about how Canadians are coping with COVID-19. With this survey, the same respondents are surveyed on a regular basis to get a sense of how they are doing in the context of the pandemic. In the most recent iteration of the CPSS (the third one since the beginning of the pandemic), more than 4,000 respondents answered a number of questions from June 15 to June 21, 2020 on the reopening of social and economic activities.


The study "Fear of COVID-19 related stigmatization" is now available as part of the series StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canada (Catalogue number45280001).

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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