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?

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Canada’s soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Canada’s soft power and brand strength

How does Canada compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally? 

In the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance, Canada secures the 7th spot, behind China (5th) and France (6th). Canada maintains the same position as in 2022, although its score increased by 1.2%. Canada ranks 2nd for its Reputation in the world behind Switzerland and followed by Japan.

Canada holds the top spot in Nation Brand Perceptions, achieving a score of 92.3 and retaining the title as the world’s strongest nation brand for the second consecutive year. The country’s robust economy, culturally diverse population, and top-tier education system contribute to its position, reflecting one of the highest living standards globally.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, Canada secures the 2nd position, behind leading Switzerland and above Sweden (3rd). Notably, Canada excels in three key areas: agility (2nd), quality of life (3rd) and social purpose (4th). Canada jumped one position from 2022, with its lowest scores in movers and heritage

The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index (NBI) calculates its ranking based on averaging the scores of six different factors: exports, governance, tourism, culture, people and immigration, and tourism. According to the NBI 2023 ranking Canada secures the 3rd position, maintaining its position from 2022.

Talent in Canada

How well is Canada performing in attracting and retaining talent?

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed Canada at the 14th position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past 5 years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

Canada, classified as a high income country within North American regional group, currently holds the 13th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Canada thrives in the Grow pillar (9th) and its main challenge is the Retain factor (28th). 

In terms of education excellence, Canada boasts three universities within the top 100 worldwide, according to the World University Rankings 2024. These esteemed institutions are: University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill university.

Canada’s appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel 

What is the global perception of Canada as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks Canada in 27th position out of 53 countries, below Greece (25th) and China (26th). Canada ranks highest in the Work Culture and Satisfaction metric where it secured the 8th position, it ranked 9th in the terms of Career Prospects, and in the Environment and Climate metric it secured the 10th position.

As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023, Canada ranks 7th in terms of FDI inflows, a drop of two positions since 2021. This drop is presumed to be due to a 20% decrease in FDI in the past year. In terms of FDI outflows, Canada ranks 8th, a drop of three positions since 2021. Canadian Solar is ranked 6th as a top investor in renewable power by number of projects between 2015 and 2022.

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, Canada placed 3rd behind the United States and Brazil. Canada maintained its positioning from the previous report. However, globally Canada ranks 10th behind Australia (8th) and Singapore (9th), a drop of two positions since the previous ranking. This is presumed to be a consequence of a decrease in Net FDI and social media performance. 

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Canada at the 14th global position, sitting between Switzerland (13th) and Portugal (15th), demonstrating an increase of two positions since the previous ranking. Regionally, Canada continues to hold the 3rd position, falling behind the United States and Mexico.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, Canada secured the 15th position, showing a slight shift from its 14th ranking in 2022 and 2021. Currently, it sits behind Belgium (13th) and Norway (14th) while surpassing Iceland (16th) and Saudi Arabia (17th).

In terms of specific characteristics, Canada’s economic performance increased by one position to the 9th spot in 2023. It holds the 16th position for government efficiency, experiencing a jump of two positions compared to 2022. Lastly, Canada dropped four positions to the 17th position for business efficiency, and retained the 11th spot for infrastructure.

Peace and happiness in Canada

Is Canada a happy and safe place to invest time and money in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Canada 11th, jumping two positions. Canada sits behind Japan (9th) and Switzerland (10th). Canada falls under the very high sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Canada positioned 1st in the North American region, which only encompasses Canada and the United States according to this Index.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks Canada within the medium impact (light orange) zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. Canada ranks 54th, below Central Africa (55th) and Ethiopia (56th). 

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks Canada 13th.

Canada’s environmental sustainability

How does Canada perform in rankings measuring environmental sustainability?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Canada 49th, tying with Belize and below Portugal (48th). The EPI analyzes the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Canada has experienced a change in score of positive 4.

Canada as “good country”

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

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, Canada secured the 8th position, maintaining its positioning from last year’s index. It performs very well in the Helping a Stranger factor with 67% of its adult population and Donating money with 61%. 

In the Good Country Index, Canada currently holds the 6th position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (29th), Culture (38th), International Peace & Security (42nd), World Order (13th), Planet & Climate (5th), Prosperity & Equality (20th), and Health & Wellbeing (6th). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, Canada was ranked 4th, and in 2021 it held the 11th position. While the country has experienced a two point drop since the 2022 ranking, there has been a significant increase in the Health and Wellbeing factor as well as the Planet and Climate factor.. 

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Canada ranked in the blue zone (8-9 range) with a 8.88 out of 10. This is higher than the United States and the United Kingdom who scored 7.85 and 8.28; but lower than the Netherlands and Iceland who scored 9 and 9.5.

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index, ranks Canada 14th with a score of 74/100, tying with Estonia, Iceland, and Uruguay. Canada’s score has remained the same since 2021.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Canada in 26th position, it highlights that the country has achieved SDG status and continues to be on track for the No Poverty goal while reaching the SDG status for the Quality Education goal which is moderately increasing. However, the country is facing some major challenges and progress is stagnant for the Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production and Life on Land goals.

Last updated in October 2023. More country profiles here.

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