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Canada a top spot for Soft Power despite domestic struggles

Brand Finance
01 March 2023
Alexandre St-Amour, Client Services Manager, Brand Finance Canada

Canada has once again topped the Soft Power Index, outperforming other countries relative to its population size. Specifically, Canada ranks second in the Reputation pillar. Despite having higher corporate tax rates compared to its southern neighbour, international business experts scored Canada second highest in ease of doing business in and with the country. Canada is also perceived as having a strong and stable economy globally, even though the nation has experienced several social and economic changes over the past year.

Rising inflation, uncertainty, and housing unaffordability have made the domestic situation difficult for Canada, but international perceptions of the country paint a different picture. It could be that Canadians are not prone to boasting or are simply comfortable with their country's stability, but domestic perceptions have consistently scored lower than foreign perceptions. 

In summary, Canada is perceived to have a strong liberal economy, and despite higher corporate tax rates, it remains easy to do business in and with the country. Though the nation has experienced many changes over the past year, it continues to be viewed as having a stable economy globally. While domestic perceptions of Canada may be lower than foreign scores, the country remains at the top of the Soft Power Index. 

Canada's reputation for its lifestyle is strong internationally, but it falls short in other areas of the Culture & Heritage pillar. For example, it ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of having a rich heritage, and despite poutine and maple syrup being well-known as Canadian cuisine, the country's overall score for food the world loves is only average. 


On the other hand, Canada is highly regarded for Governance and International Relations. Despite facing political challenges related to the "Freedom Convoy" and controversial government measures, Canada still ranks third in terms of political stability and effective governance. Additionally, the country is well-regarded for being safe, secure, and respectful of the law and human rights, which reflects Canada's image as a welcoming and diverse country. 

Canada is known for actively participating in international discussions, especially concerning human rights and reducing trade barriers. Despite the country's economic struggles over the past year, Canada remains committed to investing more in developing economies. Canada's reputation as a friendly and helpful country to those in need still shines through, and the country has been dedicated to developing international relations through multilateral forums for the last 50 years.

Canada is a founding member of organisations like the United Nations, NATO, G7, Commonwealth of Nations, and an observer in various other forums such as ASEAN and the Council of Europe. As a result of these efforts, Canada's Soft Power is strong in this area, and foreign perceptions reflect this work. 

Foreign perceptions of Canadian values continue to include the stereotype of the friendly Canadian, which is seen as a positive attribute. In 2023, these perceptions resulted in Canadians being highly rated for their friendliness, generosity, trustworthiness, and tolerance. 

Despite ongoing uncertainty affecting Canadians, it is important to take pride in how we are perceived internationally and work towards making those perceptions a reality for everyone. 

About the Author

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.