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New HPRP Policy Research Report--Public Perception and Acceptable Levels of Health Risk among Canadians

The Applied Research and Analysis Directorate is pleased to announce the release of this report.

The research program, developed by Dr. Krewski of the University of
Ottawa, examined the factors shaping public perceptions of risk and
risk acceptability and compared public perceptions of key health risks
with those of experts. Findings revealed that Canadians believe risks
to be acceptable as long as they are voluntary. However, this choice
depends on awareness, availability of knowledge and accuracy of
information.  Large increases in trust and dependence on the
ability of government and experts to make decisions and regulate health
risks in Canada were seen over the last decade.  Finally, it was
found that individuals rely almost entirely on an experiential mode to
determine acceptable risks (experience, news media, expert information)
while population level risk acceptability uses an analytical mode that
sees the administrators and policy analysts making decisions based on
probabilistic cost/benefit analysis.

This research will assist policy makers in formulating policy related
to determining how health risks become acceptable to Canadians and in
decision making related to the factors that influence Canadian public
perception of health risks.

Here is the link to the summary: