New survey ranks how professions are viewed



Mike Strapko photo


Toronto firefighters put out a fire at Sassafraz recently. Canadians have rated firefighters "most trustworthy" in a recent survey.

Toronto firefighters are reticent to accept the "most trustworthy" title handed to them by Canadians through Sympatico/MSN.

Captain Mike Strapko of the Toronto Fire Services says he doesn’t feel at ease with the results of the survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for Sympatico/MSN. The survey released just recently reveals that Canadians perceive firefighters as the most trustworthy, followed by nurses, pharmacists, airline pilots and doctors.

One thousand Canadians were surveyed about what they consider to be the most "trustworthy" professions in both 2002 and 2006.

"I don’t really feel comfortable with any kind of poll saying this type of profession is more trustworthy than this type of profession. I think there’s a lot of good people in every profession. And I think this is the way people should look at it," Strapko said.

Paul Orovan of Ipsos Reid isn’t sure what he should attribute the firefighters’ high ratings to.

"We thought that perhaps there might me some effects from the events of September 11 in terms of how highly firefighters rated in the 2002 survey."

But Canadians continued to rate firefighters as the most trustworthy in 2006.

Strapko presumes that it is due to the life-saving nature of the job.

"When your life’s in danger, we’re the ones that you don’t mind busting down the door to get in there and get you and your family, and your pets and your property," he said.

Firefighters have a history of being very engaged in their community. "We’re very charity-driven," he said.

For the past 50 years or so, firefighters have been involved in toy drives, he said.

Some in the force also do work at an international level. "We do have a number of firefighters who also do work outside of our community. One of our firefighters has gone to Sierra Leone a number of times to help out," he said.

But Strapko cannot explain why police officers, who also put their lives in danger for the safety of their community, don’t rate as well.

"We have the outmost respect for them ... I don’t know where that differential comes in."

most trustworthy professions

  • A new survey released by Sympatico/MSN reports that Canadians rate “firefighters” (93 per cent) as the most trustworthy profession in Canada, followed by “nurses” (87 per cent), “pharmacists” (86 per cent), “airline pilots” (81 per cent), and “doctors” (80 per cent). Among the least trusted professions, according to the survey, are “Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)” (21 per cent), “trade unions” (19 per cent), “local” (12 per cent) and “national” (7 per cent) politicians, and “car salespeople” (7 per cent). The poll was conducted for Sympatico / MSN by Ipsos Reid.

  • When it comes to which profession Canadians consider to be most desirable for them, “doctors” (14 per cent) top the list, followed by “teachers” (9 per cent), “police” (7 per cent), “nurses” (7 per cent), and “firefighters” (7 per cent). Meanwhile, professions such as “plumbers” and those working in the “judicial system” are seen as the least desirable professional avenues.

Opinions about the trustworthiness of various professions have remained fairly consistent since this survey was first conducted by Ipsos Reid in 2002. However, there have been some notable movements:

  • Both “chiropractors” (rated 12th, up from 15th in 2002) and “plumbers” (rated 15th, up from 21st in 2002) are viewed as more trustworthy today than they were in 2002.

  • “The Judicial system” (rated 18th, down from 13th in 2002) and “real estate agents” (rated 20th, down from 24th in 2002) are regarded as less trustworthy today than in 2002.

  • The “Medical research industry” (57 per cent), the “airline industry” (52 per cent), and the “technology industry” (49 per cent) are the most trusted industries for Canadians.