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Canada is in the middle of the pack of the 17 wealthiest countries in terms of social and economic rankings, the Conference Board of Canada reported Monday.

 

It gave Canada four Bs — for economy, education, health and the social environment — but only a C on environment and a D on innovation. The board gives a B to countries in the second quartile, a C in the third and a D in the bottom.

 

Its 12th benchmarking report card was "disappointing," the board said.

 

"While Canada is still in the gifted class among nations, its report card tells the story of a country moving to the back of the class because of its underperformance in almost all subjects."

 

Canada's standard of living has slipped to ninth this year from fourth in the 1970s, the report said.

 

The report links Canada's lack of innovation to flagging economic performance, which means there is less money to spend on services such as health and education.

 

"Canada's deteriorating transportation infrastructure, its longer hospital wait times, and the collective sense of urgency about the affordability of social programs are all directly linked to Canada's lagging productivity, which in turn is linked to its innovation problem," the report said.

 

Canada does not have an innovation policy, which would help commercialize discoveries and allow new world-beating industries to develop. Instead, resources are used to shore up fading industries, the board said.

 

The lack of innovation has hurt economic performance, where slower productivity and other factors have opened the gap between U.S. and Canadian individual purchasing power to $6,400 US now from $3,200 in 1985.

 

Canada came third last in the environment ranking, ahead of only Australia and the United States. Like them, Canada has a resource-based economy and long distances to travel, but the board said the record is poor in areas such as climate change, smog, and cutting waste.

 

"Canada now generates more waste per person than any of its peers," the board said, and is producing more greenhouse gases as petroleum and forest products exports rise.

 

On the B team

 

Canada's No. 2 ranking in education is a bright spot, because high school and college graduation rates are very high. But there are problems, including the 40 per cent of adults who have trouble coping with the literacy and numeracy demands of life and work.

 

Moreover, "Canada also trails its competitors in fostering PhD graduates and in producing graduates in the fields that underpin innovation — mathematics, science, computer science and engineering," the report says.

 

In terms of health, Canadians have fewer problems today than several decades ago, but higher rates of diabetes and obesity suggest that young Canadians "may be the first generation of children in over a century who can expect to be less healthy than their parents."

 

Canada does pretty well as a place to live, as our "social safety net" helps many people. But "many Canadians would be surprised to find out that the U.S. has a lower burglary rate, a lower suicide rate, and greater gender equity than Canada," the report said.

 

The reduction in senior poverty is a major success story, but the low ranking on child poverty is troubling.

 

"Much evidence suggests that children who grow up in poverty have lower educational attainment and poorer health, and that they are less able to contribute to their communities," the report said.

 

Canada was ranked against Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S.

 

Smaller European countries, particularly Switzerland, did very well. It was ranked second in three categories, fourth in two and fifth in one.

 

The U.S. led in innovation, but was last in environment and society, and second-last in health and education. It ranked seventh in economy.

 

(Courtesy of CBC News)

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pas surprenent du tout... avec toutes les taxes, reglémentations et niaisages syndicales, c'est juste normale de se faire dépasser.

 

Bravo Canada!!

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