Our First Viewer Survey

What are the Top Ten Threats Facing Canada in the Future?

Recently Policy Horizons Canada created a survey on a list of 35 potential disruptions for our country, asking for each one:

  • How likely is it?
  • What will be the impact if it happens?
  • When will it happen?


But, they polled 500 government employees! Hardly representative of the views of the average Canadian. So Will has recreated their survey, asking the same questions, with the same possible answers.

You'll need about ten minutes to take the survey. Next week, Will will report the results in the Weekly News, both your answers and those of the government employees who were asked.

Let's find out the difference between what Liberal government employees are concerned about, and what freedom-minded conservative Canadians are concerned about.


For each of the 35 possible Disruptions, you will be asked to rate how likely you think it is, how impactful it will be if it happens, and when you think it will happen. The Disruptions are voiced in the present tense, as though we are looking back from a future point when this Disruption has already happened.

The answer format for each question is the same, with severity increasing from top to bottom.

NOTE: The questions and descriptions for each are worded exactly the same as the Policy Horizons Canada survey.

Section 1: Society

8 Questions

1. Ageing population has no support

Living circumstances for many elderly people become unbearable as the population ages, and labour and market conditions worsen.
LIKELIHOOD: Ageing population(Required)
IMPACT: Ageing population(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Ageing population(Required)

2. Artificial intelligence runs wild

AI develops rapidly and its usage becomes pervasive. Society cannot keep up, and people do not widely understand where and how it is being used.
LIKELIHOOD: Artificial Intelligence(Required)
IMPACT: Artificial Intelligence(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Artificial Intelligence(Required)

3. Basic needs go unmet

Mounting environmental crises, weak economic growth, and unstable global and local value chains make it difficult for people in Canada to meet their basic human needs, such as housing, water, food, energy, healthcare, and financial security.
LIKELIHOOD: Basic needs(Required)
IMPACT: Basic needs(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Basic needs(Required)

4. Downward social mobility is the norm

People cannot enter the housing market and face increasingly insecure work arrangements. Many Canadians find themselves in lower socio-economic conditions than their parents.
LIKELIHOOD: Downward social mobility(Required)
IMPACT: Downward social mobility(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Downward social mobility(Required)

5. Food is scarce

A large segment of the Canadian population faces food insecurity as population growth, unpredictable crop yields, disrupted trade, and agricultural monopolies lead to volatile availability and increased food pricing.
LIKELIHOOD: Food is Scarce(Required)
IMPACT: Food is Scarce(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Food is Scarce(Required)

6. Men are in crisis

Boys and men face unprecedented levels of educational dropout, unemployment, and loneliness as traditional gender roles are challenged.
LIKELIHOOD: Men in Crisis(Required)
IMPACT: Men in Crisis(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Men in Crisis(Required)

7. People cannot tell what is true and what is not

The information ecosystem is flooded with human- and AI-generated content. Mis/disinformation make it almost impossible to know what is fake or real. It is much harder to know what or who to trust.
LIKELIHOOD: What is true(Required)
IMPACT: What is true(Required)
TIME HORIZON: What is true(Required)

8. Values-based clashes divide society

Canada is divided by unsurmountable conflicts over values, identity, and culture. Clashes, at times violent, erupt regularly on issues such as immigration, climate change, Indigenous rights, and 2SLGBTQIA+ rights.
LIKELIHOOD: Values-based clashes(Required)
IMPACT: Values-based clashes(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Values-based clashes(Required)

Section 2: Economy

11 Questions

9. Biodata is widely monetized

Business models rely on collecting individuals’ biological data, including fingerprints, iris scans, facial images, health information, and DNA. The data is traded or sold, and used for profiling, marketing, and targeted data collection.
LIKELIHOOD: Biodata monetized(Required)
IMPACT: Biodata monetized(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Biodata monetized(Required)

10. Energy is inaccessible and unreliable

The transition from fossil fuels to renewables is more geopolitically complex than anticipated, leading to uneven adoption around the globe. Many people in Canada face energy uncertainty in terms of availability, reliability, and cost.
LIKELIHOOD: Energy Inaccessible(Required)
IMPACT: Energy Inaccessible(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Energy Inaccessible(Required)

11. Homemade bioweapons go viral

A trend emerges whereby individuals can easily create cheap but powerful bioweapons with readily available technology and minimal infrastructure.
LIKELIHOOD: Homemade bioweapons(Required)
IMPACT: Homemade bioweapons(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Homemade bioweapons(Required)

12. Household debt reaches a tipping point

Unsustainable levels of spending and debt combined with high interest rates drastically limit people’s ability to spend, lease, or borrow. People file for bankruptcy, sell their assets, and exit the home ownership market.
LIKELIHOOD: Household Debt Tipping Point(Required)
IMPACT: Household Debt Tipping Point(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Household Debt Tipping Point(Required)

13. Immigrants do not choose Canada

Canada loses the global competition for highly skilled and upwardly mobile immigrants. Amid affordability problems, housing shortages, and a lack of healthcare, Canada ceases to be a sought-after destination.
LIKELIHOOD: Immigrants don't choose Canada(Required)
IMPACT: Immigrants don't choose Canada(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Immigrants don't choose Canada(Required)

14. Infrastructure and property are uninsurable

The impacts and frequency of climate-related disasters cause underwriters to increase rates and impose strict conditions in certain areas, preventing people from insuring their properties and getting mortgages. Entire areas are no longer serviced by the insurance industry.
LIKELIHOOD: Property uninsurable(Required)
IMPACT: Property uninsurable(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Property uninsurable(Required)

15. Large economies face public debt crises

Large economies default on their loans and pull back on their international commitments and spending in healthcare, education, and other public services.
LIKELIHOOD: Large economies debt crisis(Required)
IMPACT: Large economies debt crisis(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Large economies debt crisis(Required)

16. People cannot afford to live on their own

Canadians commonly live with extended family, other families, or many other people, as the housing crisis persists and multigenerational living is more widely accepted.
LIKELIHOOD: Can't afford solo living(Required)
IMPACT: Can't afford solo living(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Can't afford solo living(Required)

17. Space is commercialized and underregulated

The rapid expansion of space activity increases the number of state and private actors, while geopolitical competition blocks the development of a comprehensive legislative framework for regulating economic, scientific, and military activity in space.
LIKELIHOOD: Space is commercialized(Required)
IMPACT: Space is commercialized(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Space is commercialized(Required)

18. The North experiences an economic boom

Climate change opens the Arctic trade routes and economic activity expands in Canada’s Northern territories.
LIKELIHOOD: Canada's north booms(Required)
IMPACT: Canada's north booms(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Canada's north booms(Required)

19. Vital natural resources are scarce

The demand for vital natural resources such as water, sand, and critical minerals outpaces supply. Access to resources is either limited by a dwindling finite supply or controlled by a few suppliers.
LIKELIHOOD: Natural resources scarce(Required)
IMPACT: Natural resources scarce(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Natural resources scarce(Required)

Section 3: Environment

5 Questions

20. Biodiversity is lost and ecosystems collapse

There is an irreversible loss of biodiversity and a collapse of ecosystems due to habitat destruction, overexploitation, pollution, and climate change.
LIKELIHOOD: Biodiversity & ecosystems collapse(Required)
IMPACT: Biodiversity & ecosystems collapse(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Biodiversity & ecosystems collapse(Required)

21. Emergency response is overwhelmed

Extreme weather events such as fires, floods, tornados, and hurricanes are frequent and severe. The world is in a perpetual state of emergency, and unable to respond adequately and sustainably.
LIKELIHOOD: Emergency response overwhelmed(Required)
IMPACT: Emergency response overwhelmed(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Emergency response overwhelmed(Required)

22. Geoengineering takes off

Technologies designed to reduce the Earth's temperature and the effects of climate change, such as carbon removal and solar geoengineering (reflecting sunlight away from the Earth) are widely deployed.
LIKELIHOOD: Geoengineering takes off(Required)
IMPACT: Geoengineering takes off(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Geoengineering takes off(Required)

23. Healthy environments are a human right

People assert their right to live in a healthy environment and hold institutions accountable.
LIKELIHOOD: Healthy environments a human right(Required)
IMPACT: Healthy environments a human right(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Healthy environments a human right(Required)

24. Many Canadian regions become uninhabitable

Many Canadians relocate due to worsening climate change impacts, as extreme weather conditions such as wildfires, flooding, low air quality, and intolerable heat become the norm.
LIKELIHOOD: Canadian regions uninhabitable(Required)
IMPACT: Canadian regions uninhabitable(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Canadian regions uninhabitable(Required)

Section 4: Health

3 Questions

25. Antibiotics no longer work

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has reached critical levels. AMR is the leading cause of death globally, and food systems are disrupted as it is more expensive for producers to ensure animal or plant health.
LIKELIHOOD: Antibiotics ineffective(Required)
IMPACT: Antibiotics ineffective(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Antibiotics ineffective(Required)

26. Healthcare systems collapse

The healthcare system breaks down and cannot respond to the daily needs of Canadians, much less to crises.
LIKELIHOOD: Healthcare collapses(Required)
IMPACT: Healthcare collapses(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Healthcare collapses(Required)

27. Mental health is in crisis

Mental health deteriorates to crisis levels as Canadians grapple with multiple crises like those related to climate change and the cost of living. Meanwhile, people feel increasingly isolated from one another as societal divisions exacerbate loneliness.
LIKELIHOOD: Mental health crisis(Required)
IMPACT: Mental health crisis(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Mental health crisis(Required)

Section 5: Politics/Geopolitics

8 Questions

28. Billionaires run the world

Extremely wealthy people shape public policy through their platforms, firms, foundations, and investments—imposing their individual values and beliefs, and bypassing democratic governance principles.
LIKELIHOOD: Billionaires run world(Required)
IMPACT: Billionaires run world(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Billionaires run world(Required)

29. Canadian national unity unravels

The sense of shared identity and common purpose that has underpinned Canadian unity is eroding dramatically. Separatist movements operate in some provinces and territories. People feel disconnected from Canada, its culture, values, climate goals, and economic priorities.
LIKELIHOOD: CDN national unity unravels(Required)
IMPACT: CDN national unity unravels(Required)
TIME HORIZON: CDN national unity unravels(Required)

30. Civil war erupts in the United States

U.S. ideological divisions, democratic erosion, and domestic unrest escalate, plunging the country into civil war.
LIKELIHOOD: U.S. Civil War(Required)
IMPACT: U.S. Civil War(Required)
TIME HORIZON: U.S. Civil War(Required)

31. Cyberattacks disable critical infrastructure

Interruptions to essential services such as the Internet, electricity, transportation, water, and food supply systems are common due to regular cyberattacks, disrupting everyday life.
LIKELIHOOD: Cyberattacks disable infrastructure(Required)
IMPACT: Cyberattacks disable infrastructure(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Cyberattacks disable infrastructure(Required)

32. Democratic systems break down

Authoritarian regimes vastly outnumber democracies and the struggle between the two ideologies is messy in many countries. Some authoritarian countries experience regular pro-democracy protests, while in many democratic countries, duly elected officials pass legislation that dismantles key democratic institutions.
LIKELIHOOD: Democracy breaks down(Required)
IMPACT: Democracy breaks down(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Democracy breaks down(Required)

33. Indigenous peoples govern unceded territory

Indigenous peoples are formally involved in the governance of unceded territories across Canada, including in densely populated areas.
LIKELIHOOD: Indigenous rule(Required)
IMPACT: Indigenous rule(Required)
TIME HORIZON: Indigenous rule(Required)

34. International alliances are in constant flux

Geopolitical lines are redrawn often and quickly around technology, values, and economic interests. Alliances form and break on an ad-hoc basis, based on preferences and beliefs rather than fixed factors such as historical trade relations or geographical proximity.
LIKELIHOOD: International alliances unstable(Required)
IMPACT: International alliances unstable(Required)
TIME HORIZON: International alliances unstable(Required)

35. World war breaks out

Tensions between the world's powers escalate as new rivalries, alliances, and blocs emerge. Diminishing trust, the assertion of values, acts of interference, the battle for technological superiority, and the fight over natural resources and supply chains propel great powers into a world war, forcing other countries to pick sides.
LIKELIHOOD: World War(Required)
IMPACT: World War(Required)
TIME HORIZON: World War(Required)

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