Canada’s polling industry association is shutting down

The organization that represents public opinion pollsters and market researchers in Canada is disbanding, leaving the Canadian polling industry without a self-governing oversight body.

In a short email to members sent Tuesday morning, Amy Charles, the chair of the Market Research and Intelligence Association’s board, announced that the MRIA would cease day-to-day operations effective today, with the organization winding down its operations by the end of August.

“The organization’s current financial situation leaves no other possible alternative,” says the statement. “With a steady erosion of membership revenues and subsequent to the recent Annual Conference that left us with a significant shortfall, we are compelled to undertake this action.”

Only those members with the MRIA’s “gold seal” accreditation were alerted to the decision last week. Pollsters contacted by CBC News expressed surprise at the move.

“Yes, was totally surprised,” said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, in an email. “I had no notice that they were facing issues.”

“Total shock,” said Anastasia Arabia of Trend Research, who was president of the MRIA from 2013 to 2014. “I’ve gotten so many emails and phone calls from around the country from members.”

Don Mills, CEO of Corporate Research Associates, said the news “caught everybody completely off guard. It was quite a shock, frankly.”

Mills called the decision to dissolve the MRIA “disappointing,” citing the work the organization had done in trying to set standards and certify market researchers. He said he is baffled by the fact that the board of directors felt forced to make this move.

“How could it get to this point without anyone in the industry knowing that the MRIA was in trouble?”

“Closing the MRIA was not something we would have considered,” said Arabia. “I’m confident the board made the best decision that they could, but there was no outreach and I don’t know why. This is a huge loss to the industry.”

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