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Divergent Performance Across Atlantic Provinces on Conference Board of Canada’s Society Report Card

Ottawa, April 5, 2017 – Three of the Atlantic provinces receive “C” grades and rank near the bottom on the first How Canada Performs: Society report card that compares the social performance of Canada, its provinces, and 15 peer countries. New Brunswick is the standout performer–top-ranked among the provinces, with a “B” grade and overall 10th place ranking among 26 comparator jurisdictions.

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

“While New Brunswick is the top-ranked province, the remaining Atlantic provinces don’t fare as well on the society report,” said Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada. “Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador do well on a number of equity and crime indicators, but are amongst the lowest-ranked provinces on measures such as poverty and social network support.”



  • Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador all get “C” grades on the society report card and rank close to the bottom.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador gets a “D-” for its gender wage gap, the highest wage gap among all 26 comparator jurisdictions.
  • New Brunswick is the top-ranked province placing 10th out of 26 comparator regions. Half of the provinces score “B” grades and are middle-of the pack performers.
  • Canada gets a “B” overall and ranks 10th among the 16 peer countries.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia ranks 20th out of 26 jurisdictions and gets a “C” grade overall. It does well on many of the social cohesion indicators with “A” grades on homicides, burglaries, and life satisfaction. Nova Scotia also has the lowest immigrant and racial wage gaps among its provincial counterparts and receives “B” grades on suicides and income inequality. The province gets “C” grades on poverty, gender wage gap, voter turnout, and social network support. Nova Scotia gets its worst grade, a “D,” on jobless youth with the highest jobless youth rate among all the provinces and the second-highest overall, after Ireland. In 2012, 21.0 per cent of the province’s population aged 20 to 24 were neither in school nor working.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island ranks just behind Nova Scotia in 21st place. Like Nova Scotia, P.E.I. does well on a number of the social cohesion indicators, with “A” grades on homicides, burglaries, and suicides, and an “A+” on life satisfaction. The province has the second-lowest average suicide rate of all 26 comparator regions, after the U.K. The Island also gets “A”s on two equity indicators: income inequality and intergenerational income mobility, where it ranks first among the provinces. This indicator is a measure of the extent to which differences in income are transmitted from one generation to the next.

On the gender wage gap, P.E.I. is a standout performer among the provinces. With a difference between male and female earnings of 10.7 per cent, the Island places 4th overall after Belgium, Norway, and Denmark. Yet, it only gets a “B” on this measure, because top-ranking Belgium does considerably better with a gender wage gap of 3.3 per cent. The province also gets a “B” on voter turnout, ranking 7th overall. With a turnout rate of 77.4 per cent in the 2015 federal election, P.E.I. has the highest voter turnout among the provinces. On burglaries, Prince Edward Island gets an “A” and places among the top five overall, with a three-year average of 375 burglaries per 100,000 population. The province’s overall performance is pulled down, however, by its “C” grades on poverty and jobless youth and its last place finish amongst all peer countries and provinces on perceived social network support where it receives a “D-” grade.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Ranking 23rd among the 26 comparator regions, Newfoundland and Labrador is the worst-ranked province, placing ahead of only France, Japan and the United States. The province scores a “D-” for its gender wage gap, the highest wage gap among all the jurisdictions at close to 29 per cent difference in weekly earnings between men and women. Newfoundland and Labrador also does poorly on the jobless youth and social network support indicators, with “D” grades on both. In the last federal election, it had the lowest voter turnout among the provinces, at 61 per cent, and receives a “C” grade on this indicator. The province gets “B”s on income inequality, burglaries, and suicides. A bright spot for the province is its performance on homicides and life satisfaction. It gets an “A” on homicides, ranking 5th among all the jurisdictions, with the lowest three-year average homicide rate in the country and an “A+” on life satisfaction, ranking second only to Saskatchewan.

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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