Credit Suisse Progress Barometer 2019

Credit Suisse

The Credit Suisse Progress Barometer measures the desire for progress in society, politics and economy around the globe.

For this year’s edition, 16,000 citizens in 16 different countries on six continents (all except Antarctica) were interviewed and asked to share their views.

The questionnaire for the Progress Barometer was developed and launched in Switzerland in 2018 and taken to a global level in 2019. gfs.bern worked with local experts to ensure that the concept and questionnaire were adapted to reflect the context and characteristics of each country individually.

At the heart of the concept are 30 statements referring to 10 aspects of progress in society, politics and the economy in each case. For each of these aspects respondents were asked to indicate whether – in their opinion – the wheels of progress should move much faster (indicating desire for progress) or whether they should stop and be reversed (indicating aversion to progress).

This index allows opinions on progress within a country to be compared by looking at the areas of politics, society and the economy separately. Moreover, it also provides the opportunity to compare the 16 countries included in the study, thus helping us understand the readiness for progress around the world.




The process of adapting the questionnaire to each country brought to light how subjective progress as a notion is and how dependent it is on personal opinion and cultural background. Progress in one particular area can be viewed very favourably in one country, whereas in another country it might be seen as quite problematic. Progress is also not always seen as positive. The political zeitgeist, for example, suggests an increase in political polarization for the future – a development that many citizens would definitely prefer to reverse.

In addition to collecting information on where the citizens want their country to go in the future, the Progress Barometer also looks at the past and how citizens evaluate the changes their country has seen in the last ten years.

This cockpit is a portrait of how progress is seen in Canada in 2019. Readiness for progress is discussed for the areas of politics, society and the economy – as well for the country overall. The 30 items used to calculate the progress indices are displayed in a progress map showing readiness for progress on the x-axsis and the unanimity with which this progress is demanded on the y-axsis.

For methodological information, please consult the info box at the end of the cockpit.

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Compared to all 16 countries surveyed, Canada only has a slight desire for progress (11th of 16), with the enthusiasm for progress in politics being particularly low. When it comes to progress in society, on the other hand, the readiness to see things moving faster is considerably higher in Canada.

Progress map Canada

Improvement in the area of gender equality is a leading progress issue in most of the 16 countries surveyed in this year’s Progress Barometer, and Canada is no exception. Arguably one of the most important factors in facilitating equality between women and men is the better compatibility of work and family life. The Canadian population clearly wants to see things moving faster when it comes to expanding public childcare. At the same time, they are happy with the status quo when it comes to the professionalization of work that was largely voluntary work before (e.g. childcare or care for the elderly). Canadians also welcome the transition of a working environment away from the idea that a job primarily guarantees economic survival towards one that gives life meaning and purpose.

In Canada, gay couples are able to marry and adopt children. The country is altogether very progressive when it comes to same-sex rights and the acceptance of homosexuals in society, According to the Canadian population, however, the wheels of progress should turn even faster here in the future.

The legalization of marijuana has been an important political issue for Canada in recent years. While a majority support the legalization that was enacted in 2018, some caution remains.[2] The Progress Barometer therefore also identifies the issue as one where no further progress is desired, but the status quo should be upheld.

Innovation, promotion and dissemination of e-mobility are among the most important progress issues in Canada as well as on globally.

Conversely, the desire to see faster progress on the introduction of a fuel tax is considerably lower. While both issues address the challenge of climate change, e-mobility carries the implicit message that it makes the status quo more sustainable, while the fuel tax would come at the price of certain constraints in current living conditions.

The issue where Canadians most desire a reversal of current developments is in the relocation of aspects of production abroad. In Canada, 1.6% of the economy is based on the agricultural sector, 28.2% on the industrial sector and 70.2% on the services sector. While Canadians are not opposed to this, they also are not keen on seeing things moving any faster in terms of the (further) transition away from manufacturing towards an even more services-based society. Canadians also want less regulation and progress [p1] on free trade, but at the same time would not like to increase their dependence on international agreements.

The volume of information available has exploded with the advancement of the internet, digitalization and the spread of social media. This increase in news sources comes at the price of an increased vulnerability to fake news at the same time. As in many other countries, people in Canada too are critical when it comes to this trade-off and would rather see a reversal of this development. The same holds true for the decreasing number of independent media. Associated with this debate is the polarization of the nation’s political culture, which is something that is also viewed as an issue where people would like to see a reversal of developments.

Desire for progress in Canada

Canada shows the greatest willingness for progress in the area of society, has a slight desire to see things move faster when it comes to economic issues while looking to preserve the status quo in the political arena.

Overall this results in a slight desire for progress with respect to all areas surveyed.

When asked how Canadians themselves would rate progress in their country, 63% feel their country is very progressive or somewhat progressive when it comes to matters of society, 54% are of the opinion that Canada is progressive in economic matters, whereas only 43% rate Canada progressive in terms of the current development of its politics.

Future prospects

Canadians are optimistic or at least partly optimistic about their own future (81%). When it comes to the future of society, they are more sceptical, but not pessimistic: 77.5% look to the future with mixed feelings or some optimism. Only 19% see the future as quite bleak.

Assessment of past 10 years

A majority (51%) of Canadians feel that the situation regarding sustainable technologies has improved over the last 10 years, whereas the protection of privacy has deteriorated (55%). A deterioration is also perceived in terms of national unity (44%), the people’s influence on decision making (39%), social security (45%) and the stability of economic relations (41%).

Social cohesion

A majority of of Canadians (67%) consider themselves part of the country’s middle class, but feel an ever-increasing pressure about their own status. While 84% are fully or quite satisfied with their life at present, they worry about the situation their children will find themselves in (66%). Finally, 69% of Canadian voters feel that only a small minority is getting richer, while no one else is benefiting from developments. Meanwhile, 59% agree with the statement that government should do more to mitigate this situation.

Battle against climate change

73% of the Canadian population wants more government intervention to prevent companies from polluting the environment, 70% want people to return to living in greater harmony with nature and 72% think the economy has been too one-sided in focusing on growth and should now focus more on sustainability.

Methodological information

on behalf of: Credit Suisse

basic population: Canadian citizens with the right to vote

fieldwork: Cint AB

surveying: online panel

survey period: 20.09.2019-18.10.2019

sample size: min. 1000 per country, Canada (N=1043)

margin of error: at 50/50 (and 95 percent probability) Canada (± 3)

quota characteristics: age/gender interlocked

weighing: age/gender

survey duration: average survey time in minutes in Canada = 18

Progress Index and Items:

Respondents were asked the following question: „For each of the areas below, assess the current development and imagine this development as a wheel that turns. For each case, decide whether the development should be accelerated or reversed.“ Ten statements asking about a development in society, economy and politics each were surveyed in all 16 countries. The adaption of these items to best suit the countries context were made in cooperation with local experts.

The following items were surveyed in Canada:

Progress items economy:

service-based society: Canada produces fewer goods and is turning into a service-based society.
digitalization: Digitization/robotization makes our working lives easier and more efficient, but it also makes traditional professions redundant.
free trade: The trade of goods is getting freer and more global.
lifelong learning: You have to do regular on-the-job training in order to keep up.
production outsourced: Many aspects of production are moved abroad.
low corporate taxes: Because of low corporate tax rates, many international companies move their head offices to Canada.
influx foreign experts: Canada needs more and more experts from abroad.
tax money for research: To strengthen Canada as a research location, more taxpayers‘ money is spent on research.
development of agricultural land: Growing cities and major industrial and infrastructure projects mean that more and more agricultural land is being developed/Major infrastructure projects and ideas means that more and more cultivated land is built on.
e-mobility: Electric cars allow even more individual mobility with reduced emissions of climate-damaging substances./Mobility with electrically powered cars allows even more individual mobility with reduced emissions of climate-damaging substances.

Progress items society:

gender equality: Gender equality is promoted in all areas of life.
urban-rural contrast: People living in big cities and in small towns in the rural areas have fewer and fewer interests in common.
gay rights: Gay couples increasingly enjoy equal rights in all areas of life.
fewer independent media: There are fewer and fewer independent media outlets in Canada.
expansion public childcare: Public daycare and childcare services are being expanded.
increase life expectancy: Advances in medicine means that we are healthier into old age, but at the same time we’ll have to work for longer.
professionalization voluntary work: Many areas of society that used to function on a voluntary basis are now being professionalized.
migration transforms society: Immigration transforms the composition of societies./Transmigration transforms the composition of societies.
sense of purpose in work: People increasingly look for passion and meaning in their work.
petrol tax: Additional taxes on petrol are demanded worldwide in order to slow down climate change.

Progress items politics:

increase in pension deductions: Wage deductions for pensions are increasing because people are living longer.
increase in development aid: Canada’s contributions to global development cooperation are increasing.
dependence on international agreements: When it comes to its global market position, Canada is increasingly dependent on international agreements with other countries.
individualization and self fulfillment: With increasing individualization, social pressure diminishes and everyone can live by their own values.
regulation increase: More and more everyday things are becoming more strictly regulated./The state ensures that many parts of life and work are clearly regulated.
transition to knowledge based society: Canada is turning into a knowledge-based society and is spending less on agriculture and instead more on universities and higher education.
accessability trough social media: People can organise themselves spontaneously via the internet and force policy-makers to become more accessible to the public.
polarization: Politics is becoming increasingly polarised and cooperation between the parties more difficult.
media diversity vs. reliability: While more and more sources of information are available to form a political opinion, the facts become less important.
legalization of Marijuana: Legalization of Marijuana is being persued.