Year in Review 2020: Canada's top 10 search topics from Donald Trump to COVID-19 and CERB

·Editor, Yahoo Canada
·5 min read

There are many ways to define 2020, and these 10 topics give us a good start.

From ones that struck us with uncertainty, to others that provided us with a sense of relief, here’s what Canadians searched for most on Yahoo Canada, throughout a year that we surely won’t forget anytime soon.

The most popular search term in 2020 among Canadians was Donald Trump, while they also took heavy interest in topics relating to COVID-19 and Canada's response, as well as Megan Markle of the British royal family. (Credit: Associated Press/Getty Images)
Donald Trump was the most popular search term in 2020 among Canadians, while they also took heavy interest in topics relating to Canada's COVID-19 response, as well as Meghan Markle and the British royal family. (Credit: Associated Press/Getty Images)


The U.S. president dominated headlines this year from start to finish, as part of so many major 2020 storylines. His government began the year by killing an Iranian military leader, which fuelled WW3 rumours and ultimately found Canada in the crosshairs with the Iran plane crash.

Donald Trump’s ability to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has drawn scrutiny worldwide. In the fall, Trump himself was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, and his recovery happened amid a U.S. presidential election that he still deems undecided. Canadians naturally have had to be interested, considering the impact the U.S. has on our daily lives.

NO. 2 COVID-19

Along with trying to understand all the basics behind this new virus, COVID-19 has changed the way we live in 2020. Simple tasks have taken on a level of anxiety no one could have ever imagined. To cope with it all, we’ve needed answers. We wanted to know how much toilet paper we really needed for a lockdown. Or what was the safest way we could interact with our friends. For a virus that’s changed our lives, Canadians have always searched for the latest info, and that’ll continue as we look for answers related to COVID-19 vaccines.


We all love royals drama, and this year certainly had a lot to keep up with.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry started 2020 by quitting their senior positions as U.K. royals, and moved to a British Columbia home. Canadians were thrilled, but also asked themselves: is it our tax money that’ll keep them safe abroad? Even as we moved on from that storyline, the couple made headlines thanks to a flurry of royal tell-all books. But to end 2020, Markle used her spotlight in a moment of bravery, sharing the news of her miscarriage with the world.


“William and Harry — The Friendship and Feuds” was one of the tell-all books that kept the Prince of Sussex in the news, even as he tried to take his life in a new direction. Netflix’s Season 4 of “The Crown” also certainly didn’t help, as everyone dissected the lives of his parents with questions on search.

If we’re to guess why Meghan ranks above Harry, her iconic and elegant fashion choices may have something to do with it.


Who hasn’t used Zoom by now? It’s become the year’s go-to platform to stay connected throughout the pandemic, while helping us stay at home. We’ve all had to search for the video chat platform at least once to either access it, learn the basics, or to find a snazzy wallpaper for when we talk to loved ones, colleagues or classmates.


The pandemic has had a crippling effect on the economy, and that’s fallen on the backs of Canadians. Many turned to crucial programs administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Both programs have combined for over $85 billion in paid benefits, according to government data for the CERB and CRB. Millions of Canadians have applied, looking for crucial answers to their financial woes.


While we undoubtedly want to know how countries in the world are fairing with the virus, nothing remains more important than what’s happening in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started the pandemic with daily COVID-19 press conferences, followed by premiers and health officials from across the country. We wanted to know how our leaders were reacting to a fatal coronavirus, one that forced us to change our habits for the greater good.


Considering it’s Canada’s most populous province, it’s natural to see “Ontario COVID-19” as one of top searches, as its residents try to navigate the pandemic. Having a premier like Doug Ford, who’s probably appeared in front of the public as consistently as any other Canadian official this year, also helps. Public opinion on the Ontario premier has wavered throughout, but it hasn’t hurt his ability to deliver some of the most headline-worthy quotes of 2020, in an effort to get “a bunch of yahoos” in line.


Service Canada is the go-to spot to access a wide range of government services and benefits, like the ones introduced throughout the pandemic, and also general programs such as Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. With so many uncertainties in 2020, at least we knew there was one umbrella search term to start us off in the right direction.


The Canada Emergency Response Benefit seemed like the federal government’s most popular benefit amid the pandemic, with 8.9 million unique applicants. Providing $2,000 a month, people naturally had basic questions, such as “do I qualify?” for a cheque that can help keep me and family afloat. The answer hasn’t been so simple for everyone, with some Canadians worried about repaying CERB funding that they mistakenly received.

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