Canadian Religious Communities Need to Tell a Better Story

Cardus 2022

New report confirms secularized Canadians are becoming more hostile to faithful public expression


November 23, 2022

HAMILTON, ON – Religion holds an increasingly delicate place in Canadian society according to The Shifting Landscape of Faith in Canada, a new report from think tank Cardus. The report compiles data from nine representative surveys of the Canadian population, creating one of the most comprehensive looks at religion in Canada. The findings suggest:  

  • Upwards of 60% of all Canadians say God and religion should be completely out of public life.
  • Non-religious Canadians tend to view all faith groups as damaging to Canadian society.
  • Canadians under age 40 are more positive about faith groups’ contributions to public life than their older counterparts, except for the contributions of Roman Catholic and Evangelical Christians.

“Canadians are seeing an increasingly negative association with faith, which suggests that faith communities aren’t telling their story well,” says Ray Pennings, executive vice-president of Cardus and a report co-author. “Religious communities need to find ways to communicate their faith in ways secular Canadians can understand, emphasizing their positive contributions to Canadian society in deeds as much as in words.”

The findings also suggest there is some appetite for spiritual matters among secular Canadians:

  • Almost half of Canadians are spiritually uncertain—not religiously observant, but open to a reality beyond the physical world.
  • Canadians who’ve joined a new faith are more likely to have been raised in no religious tradition than in a religious one.

The Shifting Landscape of Faith in Canada builds on previous research Cardus has conducted in partnership with the Angus Reid Institute since 2017. The substance of the Shifting Landscape report was prepared in the spring of 2022. Cardus presented a summary of the findings to nine groups of religious leaders across the country, for discussion and feedback. Each gathering intentionally included leaders from various Christian churches or denominations, and some also included leaders from other faiths. Report co-authors Ray Pennings and Jenisa Los, research and editorial associate, incorporated feedback from those presentations in the final Shifting Landscape report. By studying and reporting on these trends, Cardus seeks to equip faith leaders to engage their local communities, congregants, and Canadian societyThe Shifting Landscape of Faith in Canada is freely available at


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.