Canada has fallen out of the top 10 freest countries worldwide, based on a new study released Friday by Canada’s Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute in the U.S
Based on 2022 data, Canada dropped to 13th on the list, down from 6th last year, mainly due to the strict COVID policies. This is the first time Canada has been out of the top 10 since 2012.
The index measures personal freedom, which refers to the rule of law, safety and security, identity and relationships (the freedom to choose your partner). Freedom of speech, movement, assembly, religion and economic decisions are also measured.
The pandemic was the main factor in limiting freedom with 94.3 per cent of the world’s population experiencing a decline from 2019 to 2020, according to the study.
However, the pandemic wasn’t the only factor. In fact, freedom declined for 79 per cent of the world’s population between 2007 (a peak year for human freedom) and 2019.
Rounding out the top three on the list were Switzerland, New Zealand, and Estonia. The three least free countries in descending order are Venezuela, Yemen and Syria, the study says.
North America, Western Europe and Oceania, have the highest levels of freedom, while the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia have the worst.
Those in freer countries are also more prosperous, with the average per-capita income for the top quartile countries in the report at $48,644 USD, compared to $11,566 USD for the lowest quartile in 2020, according to the report.