This year will be the “year of fairness” in Canada, according to The Bold Thinking Report, What Canadian Culture Creators Want You to Know, a collaborative effort between National Public Relations and its digital division Sonic Boom and

That means Canadians will hold decision-makers to a higher standard. For reddit users—or “redditors”—companies and governments need to demonstrate a strong sense of social responsibility and a moral code that prioritizes fairness over self-interest.

“Fairness cuts across Canadians’ discussions on reddit of a broad range of topics, and leads us to conclude that, more and more, it is being applied to consumer decisions to buy products, support companies and advocate for issues,” says Ujwal Arkalgud, vice president, Strategy at Sonic Boom. “More than ever, Canadians will support corporations and organizations who act fairly to employees and customers, for example, and punish those who appear to act exclusively out of self-interest.”

Among the research findings:

  • Canadians were particularly clear that they wanted business communities and governments to collaborate but not to unfairly collude;
  • They want Canadian companies to innovate and think it is fair that banks and governments prioritize and support these efforts;
  • Canadians on reddit lack confidence in the objectivity of financial education materials from financial institutions. They want financial institutions to provide relevant information about investment opportunities and risks for the young investor, not just for the high net worth client;
  • They expect companies and governments will be progressive with respect to planning for our energy future and they want to be able to choose between options such as renewable versus traditional energy sources;
  • For Canadians on reddit, technology is part of how they work and play. They want industry and government to ensure Canadians have fair access to available and emerging technologies;
  • Conversations online about the retail sector suggest that fairness and respect for the people throughout the supply chain, from those in manufacturing plants to those in direct sales positions, influence Canadians’ intention to purchase.

Using its “Belief Based Consumption” research, which uses social sciences and ethnographic methodologies, National analysed over 20,000 discussions on topics ranging from financial services and pharmaceuticals to telecommunications and energy.

“What we found is that Canadians don’t begrudge companies making a fair profit, but want to ensure that corporate actions are not exploitive and that those in positions of power act with impartiality,’ says John Crean, national managing partner at National. “Further, Canadians increasingly expect companies to be progressive, inclusive and fair-minded.  And if they aren’t, Canadians will be more likely to organize and become involved themselves.”