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How Canada performs: A report card on Canada

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The Conference Board of Canada
Publication Date: 
3 Feb 2013


Canada Gets a "B" on its Society Report Card

Canada places 7th and gets a "B" grade in the Society report card (includes gender income gap). Despite the solid performance, high rates of poverty and a large gap in income between the rich and everyone else put stress on a society and on the economy. Rising poverty rates and greater income inequality can mean a weakening in labour force attachment and social cohesion.

Although Canada has a high level of income inequality compared to its peers, it surpasses most other countries in intergenerational income mobility. Canada earns an "A" grade and ranks 5th of 13 peer countries on this indicator. Intergenerational income mobility can be seen as a measure of equality of opportunity, as it measures how likely individuals are to remain in the same income class as their parents.

Aside from these indicators, Canada gets solid grades in other Society indicators. For example, Canada ranks first in citizens' acceptance of diversity. Canada also gets top marks on measures of life satisfaction, elderly poverty rate, income gap between disabled and able-bodied workers, and suicide rate.

Canada's performance is the Society category is better than many of its peers, but it ranks below the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, and Austria - all of whom get ‘A' grades. The U.S. is by far the worst performer overall; moreover, the U.S. ranks last in six of the 17 indicators.