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Justin Trudeau at Pride Toronto Parade | © Alex Guibord/Flickr
Justin Trudeau at Pride Toronto Parade | © Alex Guibord/Flickr
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Canada Named Second Most Progressive Country In The World

Picture of Alix Hall
Updated: 3 October 2016
Canada is the second most progressive country in the world when it comes to social and environmental performance, according to a report by the Social Progressive Imperative. Finland nabbed the top spot, with Canada beating out 132 other countries including Australia, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Canada has been grabbing international headlines for its tolerance and inclusivity from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marching in the Toronto Pride Parade (the first prime minister to do so) to its welcoming of Syrian refugees. According to the 2016 Social Progress Index, Canada has even more going on – but there’s always room for improvement.

The 2016 Social Progress Index was recently released by the Social Progress Imperative. Covering approximately 94 percent of the world’s population, the report explores 53 unique indicators, dividing them into three main categories: Basic Human Needs, Opportunity and Foundation of Wellbeing. The Social Progress Imperative used data from a range of sources in order to measure a nation’s ability to meet both the environmental and social needs of its citizens.

When it comes to social wellbeing and quality of life, Canada came in second. The nation is known for its social welfare policies, and also leads in the Opportunity category thanks to personal rights, tolerance and education. The nation ranked first in Access to Advanced Education; the report attributes this to Canada’s top-ranking universities and notes it may also be a sign of Canada’s multicultural model.

Hart House, University of Toronto | © Blok 70/Flickr
Hart House, University of Toronto | © Blok 70/Flickr

That’s not to say the country is perfect: Canada ranked lower for some environmental factors, including waste water treatment and greenhouse gas emissions. Residents of Toronto and Vancouver won’t be surprised to hear Canada ranked lower when it comes to the availability of affordable housing.

The Social Progress Index aims to understand the success of societies beyond just economic outcomes. The report is also the “first comprehensive framework for measuring social progress that is independent of GDP, but complementary to it.”