Canada Country Performance, Brand Strength and Reputation

Canada: how does the country’s political positioning towards the US influence its performance in global rankings that measure talent attraction potential, public diplomacy and soft power strength, environmental sustainability and economic development? What influence have recent political developments had on the international reputation of Canada? Answers in this summary of global reports, studies and rankings on country performance, brand image and reputation.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Ease of doing business in Canada;
  • Efficiency and competitiveness of Canada’s labor market;
  • The influence of Canada’s soft power on neighboring countries;
  • Environmental sustainability in Canada;
  • Canada’s contribution to global well-being;
  • The reputation and performance of Canada as nation brand.

With thanks to our friends and knowledge partners Bloom Consulting and Brand Finance for supporting our country profiles by contributing latest research insights and benchmarking data.

Doing business in Canada

What are the pros and cons of doing business in Canada?

Canada ranks 18th in the 2018 Ease of Doing Business index. It performs best in the dimension of starting a business, where it takes 2nd place after the overall leader New Zealand. It also scores very high in protecting minority investors (8th) and in resolving insolvency (11th). On the other hand, Canada remains in the second half of the ranking for enforcing contracts (114th) and getting electricity (104th).

Compared to the 2008 results, Canada’s performance has become considerably weaker over the last ten years, falling from 7th to the current 18th position.

Canada’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index 2017-18 is 14th. Its strongest pillars in this index are the development of its financial market and labor market efficiency (both ranked 7th). Health and primary education also fit in the top ten (8th), while the country’s weakest pillar, the macroeconomic environment, ranks far lower (47th).

Canada has shown a slight decline in this index, too, falling from 10th (2008) to the current 14th in ten years.

Transparency International ranked Canada 8th in its 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, awarding Canada with a high level of trustworthiness regarding the efficiency of its state institutions.

Talent in Canada

How well is Canada performing in attracting and retaining talent?

Canada’s overall ranking in the 2018 Global Talent Competitiveness Index is 15th. In this index, Canada does best at attracting talent (10th) and providing global knowledge skills (11th). Talent enabling and growth (both 14th) also score well. Vocational and technical skills (22nd) is the only pillar where Canada scores below top-20 in this report.

Canada’s soft power

Which are Canada’s strongest points of influence in terms of soft power? 

The soft power Canada has on other countries is estimated to be very strong – it ranked 5th in the 2017 Soft Power Index. This is one position lower than a year earlier, and the same position it scored in the first edition of the study, in 2015.

Canada scores highest in the dimensions of education (2nd) and digital development (6th); culture and government (both 9th) also make it to the top-10 for global influence.

Canada outperforms the global competition in terms of most generous nation according to Brand Finance‘s Global Soft Power Index 2020, ranking an overall 7th. behind the likes of China (5th) and France (6th).

Canada’s digital demand

How sought-after is Canada in online searches? 

Canada also ranks high in the 2017 Digital Country Index, where it holds the 5th spot for the third consecutive year. It leads the dimension of talent, with prominence (4th) and investment (7th) also scoring very high. Exports (9th) and tourism in Canada (14th) score somewhat lower in this ranking that analyses countries’ popularity in online enquiries.    

Canada’s environmental sustainability

How does Canada perform in rankings measuring environmental sustainability?

The 2018 Environmental Performance Index ranked Canada 25th in its bi-annual study, keeping the same position as in 2016.

Canada’s ranking in the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index sustainability section is 20th. This is six positions higher than in the 2015 ranking. Its strongest dimensions were the enforcement of environmental regulations (26th) and the sustainability of travel, wastewater treatment and tourism industry development (both 29th). Canada’s forest cover change (86th) and environmental treaty ratification (90th) score much lower in the section of environmental sustainability.

The Happy Planet Index positioned Canada much lower, ranking it 85th in its 2017 study. The main cause for this weak performance, according to the index, is Canada’s big ecological footprint, which leaves it at the very bottom of the study, ranking 136th out of 140.

Nevertheless, the country’s performance in other dimensions is good: it ranks 7th for well-being, 11th for life expectancy and 17th for equality.

Life quality in Canada

Is Canada a welcoming place for living?

Canada ranks above the average in several pillars of OECD’s 2017 Better Life Index. The country received a high evaluation for its housing conditions, subjective well-being, personal security, health status, social connections, environmental quality, jobs and earnings, education and skills.

Canadians are generally more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Canadians gave it a 7.3 grade on average, which is much higher than the OECD average of 6.5.

Canada’s ranking in the World Happiness Report 2018 is 7th both for native Canadians as for the foreign-born. This makes it one of the happiest countries in terms of assuring well-being and equal treatment for its immigrant community, which makes up more than 20% of the total population.

Canada as “good country”

What is Canada’s contribution to global well-being?

Canada ranks 14th in the latest Good Country Index. Its strongest pillars are health and well-being (8th) and world order (11th). Other dimensions of Canada’s contribution to global well-being rank relatively lower. While culture (25th), prosperity and equality (27th), science and technology (29th) still feature in the top-30, Canada’s contribution to the improvement of planet and climate (39th) and international peace and security (41st) score much lower.

The Global Peace Index ranks Canada 6th in its 2018 study. Similar to the global tendency, Canada suffered a deterioration in its terrorism impact rating after several terrorist attacks, such as the Quebec City mosque shooting in January 2017. However, the overall valuation of Canada’s contribution to global peace is two positions higher this year, compared to 2015.

 Canada’s international reputation, image

How well is Canada performing as a nation brand?

In 2017, the country held the leading position in Country RepTrak’s international reputation study. Canada performed very well in several dimensions of the report, such as appealing environment (2nd), advanced economy and effective government (both 5th).

Brand Finance’s Nation Brands Index ranked Canada as the 7th most valuable nation brand in 2017. Its nation brand value increased by 14% in the last year, reaching $2,046bn in 2017. This allowed Canada to climb up one position, compared to 2016.

Analysis by Maria Lindmäe. Last updated June 2018.

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