As the Canadian government wrestles with the challenge of bringing in as many as 25 thousand Syrian refugees, recent rankings name Canada the world’s most tolerant society, and suggest its openness to immigrants and ethnic minorities may be very good for business.
The 2015 Global Legatum Prosperity Index puts Canada at the very top of its tolerance list. Legatum describes itself as “a London-based think tank and educational charity focused on promoting prosperity.” The Legatum Index found 92% of Canadians surveyed believe their country is a good place for immigrants. That is one of three statistical components that put Canada 1st in Legatum’s Personal Freedom sub-index. 92% say Canada is a good place to live for ethnic minorities and 94% of Canadians believe they have the freedom to choose the course of their own lives – the fifth highest in the world.
The tolerance-creativity link
Meanwhile, the 2015 Martin Prosperity Institute’s 2015 Global Creativity Index placed Canada as the fourth most creative country in the world. It uses three metrics: technology, talent and tolerance. Though Canada only places 13th for technology and 14th for talent, it is the world leader in tolerance in that ranking, and that pushes it into the top 5 overall. That should pay real dividends. “Global creativity…is closely connected to the economic development, competitiveness and prosperity of nations,” according to the Institute. The Huffington Post explains: “By attracting the largest possible pool of talent, these places become incubators of ideas.”
Martin’s Global Creativity Index forges links between tolerance, creativity and prosperity. Its report says: “A growing body of research finds that openness to diversity spurs economic development while homogeneity stunts economic growth.” It goes on to say that “Places that are open to new ideas also tend to attract creative people from around the globe that provide an edge in generating the innovations and startup companies that create new industries. These places broaden their technology and talent capabilities, giving them an economic edge over less tolerant places.”
Prosperity in challenging times?
While Canada’s economy has been challenged of late by the falling loonie and the eroding price of oil, the nation’s top export, it has only slipped one place in the Legatum Prosperity Index, to sixth. (The United States, by comparison, ranked 11th.) Despite Canada’s recent troubles, 53.2% said it was a good time to find a job and 89.3% of Canadian respondents said they have access to adequate food and shelter – better than the worldwide average of 70.4%. In Canada, 79.8% were satisfied with the standard of living. Canada’s economy ranked 8th out of 142 countries, suggesting there is more opportunity for prosperity ahead.
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