OTTAWA Most Canadians know so little about their own country that they would flunk the basic test that new immigrants are required to take before becoming citizens, according to a poll released on Friday.
The Ipsos-Reid survey showed that 60 percent of Canadians would fail the test. A similar poll done in 1997 showed a failure rate of 45 percent.
"Canadians appear to be losing knowledge when it comes to the most basic questions about Canadian history, politics, culture and geography ... (they) performed abysmally on some questions," the firm said in a statement.
Only 4 percent knew the three requirements a citizen had to meet to be able to vote while only a third could correctly identify the number of provinces and territories. Just 8 percent knew that the Queen is the head of state.
The survey was carried out for the Dominion Institute, which aims to boost knowledge of Canadian history and values. It said all high school students should have to pass a special citizenship exam before they can graduate.
"It is frankly disheartening to see the lack of progress made by our group and the countless other organizations working to improve civic literary of Canadians over the last 10 years," said institute co-founder Rudyard Griffiths.
The Ipsos-Reid survey of 1,005 adults was conducted between June 5 and 7 and is considered to be accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.