More than half of Canadians OK with telling lies to spare others’ feelings: Poll

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In a new poll conducted by Research Co., many Canadians expressed positive attitudes towards telling lies in certain circumstances.

More than half of Canadians surveyed (55 per cent) think it is permissible to lie to spare someone’s feelings, while 45 per cent said they’re OK with telling lies to protect a relationship, Research Co. said in a news release published on Wednesday. 

However, three in four Canadians (74 per cent) think every person should always be truthful, regardless of the consequences, according to the poll.

The number of people who endorse lying in order to spare someone’s feelings was also categorized by region:

• Atlantic Canada – 65 per cent

• Alberta – 59 per cent

• Saskatchewan – 57 per cent

• Manitoba – 57 per cent

• British Columbia – 56 per cent

• Ontario – 53 per cent

• Quebec – 51 per cent

“Canadians aged 18-to-34 are the most likely to have wished for falsehood instead of veracity at some point in their lives (63 per cent),” Research Co. president Mario Canseco said in the news release. “The proportions are lower among their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (55 per cent) and aged 55 and over (51 per cent)”.

Breaking down the data by political allegiance, 65 per cent of Canadians who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) support the idea of people always being truthful while the proportion is higher (80 per cent) among those who voted for the Liberal Party and Conservative Party.

The survey also asked respondents how they felt about lying in different circumstances.

According to the poll, more than half of Canadians (56 per cent) said there have been moments in their lives when they would have preferred to be told a lie instead of the truth.

Only 16 per cent of Canadians endorse lying in order to impress people and boost their reputation.

Under three in ten (28 per cent) of Canadians think it is justified to lie to be perceived in a positive light, while 41 per cent of Canadians believe it is OK to lie to protect someone else.

When it comes to gender, fewer women (40 per cent) see no problem with fibbing while the proportion is higher (49 per cent) among men.


Results are based on an online study conducted from March 10 to March 12, 2023, among 1,000 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is +/- 3.1

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