Fraser Institute News Release: All Canadian provinces now languish in bottom half of North American economic freedom rankings

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — For the first time, every Canadian province ranks in the bottom half of countries in our annual rankings of economic freedom in North America, finds a new report released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan, public policy think-tank.

Economic freedom—the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions about what to buy, where to work and whether to start a business—remains fundamental to prosperity.

“The steady decline of economic freedom in Canada now means that every province, alongside a few U.S. states and every Mexican state, resides in the lower half of North America’s economic freedom rankings,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute and co-author of this year’s Economic Freedom of North America report, which measures government spending, taxation and labour market restrictions using data from 2020 (the latest year of available comparable data).

After seven straight years atop the rankings—which include the 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states and 10 Canadian provinces—Alberta fell from top spot four years ago and this year tied for 47th place.

“With new leadership in Alberta, there’s much to be done to once again make the province the most economically-free jurisdiction in North America,” McMahon said.

British Columbia is the second-highest ranked province (51st) followed by Ontario and Saskatchewan (tied for 53rd), Manitoba (55th) and Quebec (56th).

The four Atlantic provinces— Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (tied for 57th), Newfoundland and Labrador (59th) and Prince Edward Island (60th)—have the lowest levels of economic freedom among all provinces and U.S. states, only outranking the Mexican states. New Hampshire retained its top spot in the rankings again this year.

“Higher levels of economic freedom lead to more opportunity and more prosperity, so as economic freedom wanes the prospects also diminish for Canadians and their families,” McMahon said.

The Economic Freedom of North America report (co-authored by Dean Stansel, José Torra and Ángel Carrión-Tavárez) is an offshoot of the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index, the result of more than a quarter century of work by more than 60 scholars including three Nobel laureates.

Detailed tables for each country and subnational jurisdiction can be found at

Fred McMahon
Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom, Fraser Institute
Desk: (416) 363-6575 ext. 226 Mobile: (416) 727-7138
[email protected]

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

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