Printer icon Print Page

Ontario Receives a “B” Grade on Conference Board Of Canada’s Society Report Card

by User Not Found | Apr 05, 2017
Ontario gets a “B” overall and places 14th in the first How Canada Performs: Society report card that compares the social performance of Canada, the provinces, and 15 peer countries.

Ottawa, April 5, 2017 – Ontario gets a “B” overall and places 14th in the first How Canada Performs: Society report card that compares the social performance of Canada, the provinces, and 15 peer countries.

chart with grades for Canada and the provinces on society report card

“Ontario’s ranking on the society report card highlights the need for improvement on key social challenges, such as income inequality and poverty. Ontario has high income inequality relative to the other provinces and its poverty rates have been rising gradually over time,” said Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada. “It is important that Ontario look for ways to reduce income inequality and poverty as sustained weak outcomes on income mean people are not fulfilling their potential and this can diminish economic growth and lead to increased social tension. A constructive approach is to remove barriers to opportunity for low and middle income Ontarians.”


  • Ontario scores an overall “B”, as do four other provinces, and ranks 14th out of the 26 comparator jurisdictions.
  • Ontario ranks near the bottom of the pack on income inequality and gets a “C” grade.
  • New Brunswick is the top ranked province in the report card, earning a “B” and placing 10th among the 26 regions.
  • Canada gets a “B” overall and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries.

Ontario gets a “C” grade on income inequality and ranks ahead of only two peer countries, Australia and the United States. While Ontario’s income inequality has dropped slightly in recent years, the province has not been able to reverse the sharp rise that occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s. In addition, the share of income going to the richest Ontario residents is 9 times higher than the share going to poorest ones.

Ontario’s poverty rate has been trending upwards since the late 1970s and poverty rates have been the highest in the past decade. Ontario’s poverty rate remains above the national average, earning the province a “C” on this indicator.

The province also receives “C”s on gender wage gap, voter turnout, and social network support. Ontario’s gender wage gap of 16.2 per cent (based on median weekly earnings) is lower than the national average of 18.2 and is comparable to those in the U.K. and Switzerland. However, the province does not fare as well on the racial wage gap. Ontario has the second-highest racial wage gap among the provinces, with university-educated Canadian-born members of a visible minority earning 17.2 per cent less than their Caucasian peers.

On a more positive note, Ontario gets “A” grades on homicides, burglaries, and life satisfaction. The province has the second-lowest burglary rate among all the peer countries and provinces, with a three-year average of just under 300 burglaries per 100,000 population. Ontario also scores an “A” on suicides, with the third-lowest average suicide rate among all the jurisdictions.

Ontario gets its sole “B” on jobless youth, with a rate of 15.2 per cent of people aged 20-24 who are not in school nor working, just slightly worse than the national average of 14.8 per cent.

Canada earns an overall “B” grade and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries on the Society report card. The country ranks high on life satisfaction but does poorly relative to top-ranked peers on poverty, income inequality, gender wage gap, and voter turnout.

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada’s socio-economic performance. Six performance domains are assessed: Economy, Education and Skills, Innovation, Environment, Health, and Society.

Explore the results of the How Canada Performs: Society report card in-depth during a live webinar on April 19, 2017 at 02:00 PM EDT.

For more information contact

Corporate Communications

Monthly Newsletter

Get updates about Conference Board research and events by signing up for our monthly newsletter.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed  Subscribe to the Conference Board’s News Release RSS Feed

Access Our Research

Access to The Conference Board’s reports is free of charge to professional journalists upon request.

Access Our Experts

We have a team of experienced researchers and economists who are able to comment on current events or share their expertise for news features.

Connect with Us