Canada’s status performance is at rank 7 among the best (-1 rank relative to SGI 2009).
Canadians continue to enjoy a robust democracy although concerns have been raised regarding government censorship of information and media concentration.
Thanks to a relatively strong financial system, the 2008-09 downturn was less severe in Canada than in the U.S., but nonetheless economic performance is deteriorating compared to other OECD member states.
Social policies assure social cohesion and equality of opportunities. Policies are in place to support the integration of a large number of immigrants.
The government fails to implement successful eco-friendly policies.
Canada’s quality of democracy is robust (-2 ranks relative to SGI 2009).
There are no problems with the electoral process, which is fair, open and transparent. The media is largely independent, but most of the mainstream print and electronic media are concentrated in the hands of media conglomerates.
Civil rights and political liberties protection remains strong. Cases of overt discrimination are extremely rare.
Legal regulations are generally consistent, and courts ensure that governments act in conformity with the law. Corruption is considered to be relatively low; there are effective mechanisms in place preventing public officeholders from abusing their positions.
Canada fell from position 2 to 8 in the economic policy ranking.
Market-friendly policies facilitating competitiveness and sound investments have helped make Canada an attractive place to do business.
Yet business sector investment in R&D is low, as is per worker investment in ICT. Productivity growth is sluggish and active labor market policies have had limited effect on unemployment.
Nevertheless, an 8% unemployment rate (May 2010) is lower than the rate in the USA.
The budget deficit as a % of GDP is moderate, but the cut (by 2 percentage points) in the Goods and Services Tax coupled with rising health costs undermine fiscal sustainability.
With most policies encouraging societal inclusion and ensuring equal opportunities, Canada’s ranking on social affairs (rank 5) has slightly improved.
Health care policy is effective and broadly accessible, with high-quality health care freely provided for virtually the entire population. Some inefficiency in the system remains.
Labor force participation rates for women with children is high, suggesting that policies have enabled a practical parenting-career balance.
The public pension system is assessed as performing well above the OECD average.
Cultural, education and social policies support the integration of around 250,000 immigrants per year. Immigrants are entitled to become citizens after three years of residency, one of the shortest residency requirements in the world.
Over the last decade, the canadian security apparatus has been restructured. Canada recognizes the importance of the global fight against Al-Qaeda. It has increased defense spending and has maintained a strong military presence in Afghanistan since 2001. Nearly 150 Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan.
Internal security has been improved. There have been no terrorist attacks in Canada, which suggests that the intelligence service is effective. An example of effective operations is the infiltration of a Toronto-based terrorist cell, which led to their capture in 2006.
Canada ranks 11th in the SGI’s resources category.
Environmental policy is the country’s most significant weakness. Greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise from a high base, and a carbon tax is not on the political agenda. The risks associated with the intensive development of the Alberta oil sands have been ignored.
Private-sector technological innovation is comparatively anemic, despite considerable efforts by the government to stimulate such development.
Education policy has been successful on many fronts (post-secondary attainment, possession of a number of world class universities, very high PISA scores). However, the education gap between aboriginal populations and non-aboriginals remains significant.