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Alberta Earns a “C” On Conference Board Of Canada’s Society Report Card

by User Not Found | Apr 05, 2017
With poor showings on a number of measures of equity, Alberta receives a “C” grade and ranks 19th overall on the first How Canada Performs: Society report card that compares the social performance of Canada, its provinces, and 15 peer countries.

Ottawa, April 5 2017—With poor showings on a number of measures of equity, Alberta receives a “C” grade and ranks 19th overall on the first How Canada Performs: Society report card that compares the social performance of Canada, its provinces, and 15 peer countries.

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

“Alberta’s ranking on the society report card highlights the need for improvement on some key social challenges, such as the gender wage gap and the wage gaps of immigrants and people with disabilities,” said Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada. “Improving labour market opportunities and conditions for disadvantaged groups can help the province boost social and economic performance.”


  • With an overall “C” grade, Alberta ranks 19th among the 26 comparator regions.
  • Alberta receives a “D” on social network support and the gender wage gap.
  • The province earns “A” grades on poverty and life satisfaction.
  • New Brunswick is the top-ranked province placing 10th among the 26 comparator regions. Half of the provinces get “B”s and are middle-of-the-pack performers.
  • Canada gets a “B” overall and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries.


Alberta performs poorly on a number of equity measures. The province gets a “D” on gender wage gap. With a difference in median weekly earnings of close to 25 per cent between men and women, Alberta has the third-highest gender wage gap among all 26 regions—only Japan, and Newfoundland and Labrador fare worse. The province also ranks poorly on two equity indicators not included in the overall rankings (due to the lack of comparable international data), the income of people with disabilities, and the immigrant wage gap. On the income of people with disabilities, Alberta has the poorest showing among the provinces—in Alberta, people with disabilities earn 66 per cent of the income of people without disabilities. The province gets a “C” grade on immigrant wage gap, with a 25.9 per cent difference between the earnings of university-educated landed immigrants and Canadian-born citizens, a figure well above the national average of 20.6 per cent.

The province gets its other “D” grade on perceived social network support, which reflects an individual’s perception of being able to count on someone else in times of need. The province ranks ahead of only Japan, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island on this measure.

Alberta gets its best scores on poverty and life satisfaction, with “A” grades on both indicators. Alberta has the lowest poverty rate among all the provinces and the third-lowest among all 26 jurisdictions, after Denmark and Finland. However, it is important to note that the latest available internationally comparable data for the poverty indicator is 2013, prior to the drop in commodity prices.

Alberta gets “B” grades on income inequality, jobless youth, burglaries, and suicides. The province has high income inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient), yet still gets a “B” because income inequality in the bottom-ranked peer country, the United States, is much higher. Furthermore, the share of income going to the richest Alberta residents is 10 times higher than the share going to poorest ones.

Lastly, Alberta gets “C”s on two indicators of social cohesion—voter turnout and homicides. Alberta has the third-highest average homicide rate among the provinces, only Saskatchewan and Manitoba fare worse.

Overall, Canada earns a “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.

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