The Ipsos Reid – TPA 2012 “Opinion” Poll

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The Market Research Intelligence Association (MRIA) is the polling industry’s professional organization.  It has a Code of Conduct and Good Practice that its members commit to honour.

Ipsos Reid (Ipsos) describes itself thus: “Ipsos is one of the world’s leading survey-based marketing research firms2”.  It is a member of the MRIA and listed on the MRIA website as a Gold Seal Corporate Member3.  The website states that Gold Seal Corporate Membersundergo a rigorous3rd party auditing processthat verifies that their internal business practices are of the highest standard.

On August 6, 2013 CommunityAIR filed a complaint with the MRIA about the Ipsos Reid 2012 “opinion” poll that the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) paid for.

The following is the covering letter for the complaint.


Complaint to MRIA

John Ball,

MRIA Interim Executive Director

Marketing Research & Intelligence Association

2600 Skymark Avenue, Bldg. 4. Unit 104, Mississauga, Ontario L4W 5B2


CommunityAIR requests that the Executive Director of the MRIA consider our complaint against Ipsos-Reid, an MRIA member, in the matter of a poll taken on behalf of the Toronto Port Authority.

The highlights of the poll were disseminated to the media and general public in a joint press release on August 23, 2012.  See CNW Survey Reveals Most Torontonians Agree Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Great for Toronto.

For the media package, see 2012 Ipsos Reid airport survey.

We believe that the poll breached the Code of Conduct and Good Practice for Members of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (the “Code”) in that Ipsos-Reid did not ensure that its research was not misleading.

In addition, we believe that Ipsos-Reid did not abide by Principle 2 (Public Confidence) of the general rules of conduct and that by its actions diminished the confidence of the public in research in general rather than promoted and augmented that confidence.

CommunityAIR further believes that in conducting the poll, Ipsos-Reid attempted to manage the issue.  Managing issues is one of the services offered through their website.

“We understand and manage issues, advance reputations, determine and pinpoint shifts in attitude and opinion, enhance communications, and evaluate policy.

In order to support our claim, we offer an analysis of methods Ipsos-Reid used to achieve its ends.  See 2012 Ipsos Reid details of survey  and CommunityAIR Complaint against Ipsos Reid Supporting Evidence.

CommunityAIR’s interest in this matter is non-pecuniary.  As a volunteer citizen group our aim is protection of Toronto’s Waterfront from the detrimental effects of the Billy Bishop Toronto Centre Airport.   The Toronto Port Authority, owner of the airport, has used various means to promote the facility.  We believe the poll is one of them and as such should be revealed as a marketing tool to manage an issue and not as a survey.

We are asking that the MRIA, after careful consideration of the complaint, should it find that the complaint has merit, request Ipsos-Reid to advise the media that the poll in question is a marketing or promotional tool and to print a disclaimer to that effect accompanying any future polls that use the same methods.

CommunityAIR is asking for a level playing field so that the management of issues is not confused with the results of a survey or poll.


On February 26, 2014, six months after the complaint was lodged, the MRIA dismissed the complaint on what CommunityAIR feels are technical grounds.



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