A recently released report ranked Canada as one of the most free countries in the world.
Freedom House, a non-profit organization, conducts its annual global report based on political rights and civil liberties.
Canada accumulated a score of 98 on a scale of 100 with 100 being the best.
Among Canada, some of the most free countries were Sweden (96), Finland (100), Uruguay (98) and Norway (100).
The US (82) and China (9) had notably lower scores.
Last year, Canada was ranked 99 out of 100.
Freedom House reports that Canada has concerns about fair elections, transparency with governments, treatment of prisoners, privacy, and religious and journalistic freedom. There are also concerns over discrimination against Indigenous peoples and vulnerable populations.
Canada’s higher score was maintained based on how the federal government has acknowledged and attempted to address these issues.
Points were awarded and judged by electoral process, political pluralism and participation, functioning of government, associational and organizational rights, personal autonomy and individual rights.
Canada was docked points within the freedom of expression and rule of law categories.
This was due to the approval of a provincial law in Quebec that prohibits civil servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols in the workplace.
Further affecting Canada’s score was Conservative senators blocking a bill mandating a UN national action plan for Indigenous peoples in 2018.
Freedom House also measured Freedom on the Net, which Canada garnered an 87/100.
While internet access is not prohibitively expensive or beyond reach for most Canadians, the digital divide of geography and affordability is still taken into consideration among Canadians in a lower class.
The federal government named universal access as the first of ten draft principles for a digitally connected Canada in its October 2019 Digital Charter, which may affect our Freedom of Net score in the future.