Is Canada Socialist? 7 Easy Facts To Decode It!

is Canada socialist

Over the years, Canada has earned a reputation of being the kind, progressive, and mature ‘older sibling’ of the United States. It is this reputation that prompts many people to ask the question, ‘Is Canada socialist?’ While a fair amount of Canadian policies seem socialist on the surface, is there really any substance behind these observations? After all, what exactly makes a country socialist?

If you want to find out ‘Is Canada socialist,’ then look no further! Join us as we uncover what socialism is, what its alternatives are, and where Canada falls on the socialist spectrum.

What Is Socialism?

Before we can discuss ‘is Canada socialist,’ we need to understand what socialism is. The official definition of socialism describes it as a political and economic theory or system of social organization that encourages production, distribution, and exchange to be owned and or regulated by the community as a whole.

What this means in effect is that socialism believes that the market should be controlled by the community rather than individuals or corporations. Socialist societies give the people control of industry and distribution ( factories, mines, trade), making them in charge of the market. The output of this market would be distributed according to the need to create equity. Food, money, and everything else would be divided in such a way that, ideally, there would be no more social divisions and classes.

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This socialist model has been criticized and praised in equal measure. Some say that socialism is a fool’s gambit and an unrealistic view of how society functions; others say that socialism is the perfect system for a society that we should all strive to achieve. If you are one of the people that think socialism sounds too idealistic – you would be right!

Socialism was designed to be a model that would lead to a perfect utopia. Complete and unsullied socialism would hopefully allow humanity to move forward as a species, leaving behind the petty quarrels and disputes of today. Without the barriers of poverty, race, and inequality, who knows what we could achieve?

So, whenever people say ‘socialism cannot work in the real world’s, socialists respond, ‘why can’t we make a world that works like that?’. Socialism is not about improving society as it currently is. It is about creating a new and improved world altogether.

'Is Canada socialist

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Furthermore, socialism does not mean that people will get the same amount of money! What would actually happen is that welfare, universal basic income, infrastructure, and education would be easily available and accessible to all. This way, every member of the country’s population would be starting on an equal playing field.

So far, no country has achieved true socialism, and the interpretation of what socialism is varies greatly depending on where you are in the world. Attempts at socialism cover everything from the modern and progressive Scandinavian countries to the Nazi Regime of the Second World War! This, unfortunately, makes answering the question of ‘is Canada socialist’ a lot harder.

Alternatives to Socialism:

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Obviously, socialism is not the only socio-economic system that there is ( otherwise, there would be no debate over ‘is Canada socialist’!). To help us better understand what socialism is, we must compare it to other systems and models currently being used in the world today.


Capitalism is the dominant economic system in the world today. Most countries have some form of capitalist economy or trade system, which is why international trade is relatively simple.

Capitalism is commonly described as an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. In simple words, capitalism believes in the prosperity of the individual over the community. Capitalism rewards people for working harder and smarter than everyone else to get ahead and make the most money (or capital, hence the name).

At first, this system can seem too selfish and short-sighted, but the model has a lot of good reasons for prioritizing individuals. The core principle of capitalism is the incentive to work. If people are working for themselves and are rewarded for their own efforts, they will be more motivated to continue working harder and increase their efficiency as a result. If everyone is always going to get the same amount of money no matter what, they have no incentive to increase their output.

We have capitalism to thank for the stunning variety of products and brands on our store shelves and the rapid technological progress we have been observing for the past 50 years. When capital is king, productivity is its queen.

Unfortunately, capitalism is not all prosperity and progress. The current late stage of capitalism means that mega-corporations are currently dominating the market, leaving no room for independent businesses or individuals. Corporate consolidation also poses a huge problem as multi-billion dollar companies decide to merge or partner to eliminate competition between them and increase mutual profits.

No competition means there is no need to innovate. This is a massive disadvantage to consumers as they will soon have no option but to purchase the mega corporation’s products, even if they are inferior in quality!

These shortcomings make socialism increasingly more appealing as a socio-economic model.


Communism is a theory or system of social organization in which the community owns all property, and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs. Under communism, there is no private ownership. The government owns all land, industry, and resources and divides them out according to the country’s needs.

If socialism has the country contributing to the individual’s welfare, and capitalism has the individual working for their own prosperity, then communism has the individuals in the community working to help better the collective interests of the state.

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The heart of communist ideology is that the interests of the state are ultimately beneficial to the interests of the people. Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin even suggested that socialism was just one of the first steps to achieving a fully communist state.

If the word ‘communist’ strikes fear into your heart, you should consider why you were taught that communism was inherently evil! During the Cold War (1949 to 1999), both the capitalist west and communist east were vying for ideological victory over the other. If you grew up in the west, you were most likely fed western propaganda that depicted communism as controlling, nationalist, and regressive.

However, this is not strictly true. The communist USSR had many successes and victories in its early day, and many people who grew up under the regime still stand by it today.

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However, that is not to say that communism is perfect! If we continue to use the USSR as an example, we can spot any issues with the model. The USSR collapsed in 1999, which is a major red flag as to the viability of communism.

The main problems the USSR faced were the mismanagement of funds and the autocratic leadership working to consolidate power instead of relinquishing it ( like communism aims to do!). There are still many links to work out when it comes to communism.

So, now that we know what economic systems are the most popular, we can truly understand the question ‘is Canada socialist.’ Not only can you now properly debate ‘is Canada socialist,’ but you can also wonder ‘should Canada be socialist at all’?

Is Canada Socialist? Facts In Favour

1) Welfare

Is Canada Socialist?

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Canada is well known for its generous and extensive welfare programs. From old-age benefits to unemployment schemes, Canada has got welfare covered.

Welfare is inherently a socialist policy. The distribution of the state’s funds for the benefit of the people is the basis of socialism. Canada’s world-class welfare is actually one of the main factors that prompt the question ‘is Canada socialist.’

2) Healthcare

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When talking about ‘is Canada socialist,’ how could we possibly leave out Canada’s free healthcare? Free public healthcare has always been one of Canada’s greatest modern, socio-political achievements.

Free healthcare is generally considered to be a socialist policy as it helps level the playing field. In Canada, who you are and how much you earn cannot affect your access to quality medical services.

3) Taxes

The practical tax rate in Canada is 28 percent (the practical tax rate is just 18 percent in the United States), which is relatively high. As far as ‘is Canada socialist,’ this is actually a point in its favor! Taxes are a socialist must, as they help fund infrastructure and ensure that everyone is contributing an equal percentage of their income towards the community.

Is Canada socialist? Facts Out of Favour

1) Elections

Is Canada Socialist?

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Canada has multi-party elections that are free and fair. What this means is that Canada could be quite socialist under one administration, but could be a conservative capitalist nation under another administration. This means that Canada cannot be truly socialist as true socialism would only have socialist parties with socialist policies.

2) Control of the Economy

Canada is still a free market regardless of how good its welfare and benefits systems are. A core principle of socialism is that people have control of enterprise and production.

Canada does not have this system as the state only controls around 35 percent of the market (rather than the minimum 80 percent seen under socialism). Therefore the answer to ‘is Canada socialist’ is no.

3) Private Sector Business

Another reason why the answer to ‘is Canada socialist’ is no is that Canada has private ownership. Socialism does not believe in private ownership of any kind, but Canada still has a private business, land ownership, and private schools, and hospitals. Canada has a whole thriving private sector, so it can’t be truly socialist!

4) Education

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Under socialism, high-quality education would be free to all to ensure zero discrimination amongst the people. However, Canada does not offer free higher education. You only have free public schools till you reach Grade 12 The education sector is still for profit in many areas and thus is very firmly capitalist!

Is Canada Socialist? : A Final Answer

So, the answer to ‘is Canada socialist’ is… not really! Canada is a Social democracy – a capitalist multi-party state with socialist policies to improve the quality of life. Canada seems to have found the perfect blend of socialism and capitalism that works for them. Check out our other articles!

35 thoughts on “Is Canada Socialist? 7 Easy Facts To Decode It!”

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  3. This is very well written. I especially enjoyed the part about capitalism, well the modernization of it is something I believe everyone disagrees with its still our only hope, as long as someone is dependent on the states money they will have no incentive to work as hard as it takes to better themselves or let alone there community..

    1. As long as people hold on to that negative thought alone, you are stuck. Keep an open mind. Make sure you live up to your own expectations ….live and let live. Yes, there will always be cheaters, lazy people etc. But most people do the best they can. It usually follows…..those who are most concerned about government spending are the very people who fail to keep their own finances in order. Live within your means and there is nothing to fear. My whole life, raising four kids, I have managed living below poverty level and I am proud and happy with no debt, except giving gratitude for our great country. At 78, my kids have all worked from an early age, even through pandemic as much as possible. Cared for through serious illness at times, totally successful citizens of our great country. Willing to give back, and especially love our neighbours.

  4. The Cold War ended in 1991 depending on who you ask and thus the USSR also collapsed in 1991 not 1999. There are plenty of reasons to think of communism as bad that are not “western propaganda” Like the millions of innocent people that were arrested, tortured and killed in the Gulags in the Soviet Union or the millions who were executed for simply owning land/property in both the Soviet Union and China (also happened in North Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh on a smaller scale). So to sum up sure there was propaganda on both sides during the Cold War, but only one side ruled their own people through terror and force.

      1. Open your eyes and watch Yuri Bezmenovs lectures, available on YouTube. The cultural subversion of our country is complete. The collapse of the USSR was a battle, not the whole war. Vladimir Putin didnt sign any surrender documents and both he and the CCP would have a hearty laugh at your assertion we won the Cold War.
        Its an assymetrical war, and no…it never ended. Its dangerous for us to think we “won”. Look at whats happening now in the US, and here in Canada. Marxist/Leninist thinking dominates.

        1. I normally don’t comment, but I always thought the genocides, the Gulags, etc. came about because of fascism, not communism. Is this incorrect?

        2. I would agree with you, I was just correcting the dates that are widely know as the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union. I think Canada is on a very dangerous path with it’s attack on free speech, if we stay on this path we are going to end up in a totalitarian state. I agree that the ideological war of Socialism vs. Capitalism is still very much alive but I think the Cold War is Specific to the Soviet Union and America and therefore is over due to the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s just a technicality really, I agree that this main “war” that took place in the Cold War is still at large.

        3. It’s always strange to see people bring up examples of the countries that failed with socialism, such as the USSR, while living themselves in a failed system. You are comparing the USSR to Canada, which is also a failed system when you consider the various levels of poverty in each province. Someone once said that because we have enough rich people, that makes capitalism a success. But those failed socialist states also had their rich elite.

        4. That rather sounds like someone who’s well fed with political propaganda and has biased views of communists. Communism has plenty of benefits, just that you won’t see it because all you hear about is the violence. There’s a reason why nobody ever brings up successful cases, and it’s because people want to cherry pick only the facts that proves their point.

          1. Nobody brings up successful cases of Communism because there aren’t any, every single place that it has been tried has resulted in tyranny and genocide, If you have an example of a successful cases I would love to hear it….How many bodies need to pile up before people open their eyes that it is a system that is founded on envy and resentment and always strips the freedoms from the citizens under it.

        5. This is well written, even has that Canadian feel. Thank you for directly answering the question minus any tangents, something I actively divert along because of where they often take me, not always a willing passenger, but always a grateful one.

        6. Yeah, I live in Canada and I’m not sure where you got tax rate of 28%, I pay closer to 50% when all is said and done. Where do you think the money comes from for our “free” healthcare?
          I think it’s also important to note, that our most right leaning parties are closer to the Democratic Party in the USA. We also have TONNES more government regulations on the private sector. Banking, etc. than in the USA. People want to be rewarded for their hard work, and there is no arguing that there is less potential for massive reward in Canada. There is even a phenomenon called “brain drain” in Canada. This phrase was coined to explain the large number of professionals who leave Canada after university in order to make money in America! I personally know of two doctors who are in the process of leaving.

          1. You are absolutely right here!
            Also, Covid 19 is showing that most people are willing to go along with much more government intervention. And I highly doubt they’ll want to relinquish their new found power once this is over. Not to mention the ridiculous tax rates that will be in place soon too!

          2. Yes 28%? where is he/she living? I want to go there. Canada is in the beginnings of a transition. I look around and all I see are people with no incentive to work and better themselves, but why should they? Govt. dole at every turn, buying their gas, food, rent and even dope. Meanwhile I work constantly to provide for them, not me. This is a perfect example of the impending failure that will come. At some point you have to ask yourself, why should I work? Why don’t I just stay home like the rest of them? Personal integrity only goes so far and lasts so long. Now you can’t even express your views because the right of free speech has been oppressed in the name of “political correctness” Oh, “free” healthcare?? where is that? I see taxed to death to provide crappy healthcare, long waits, (months) second rate Dr.’s from third world countries that can’t address me in my own language because if you are first rate you go to the States to actually make a living.

        7. You mention that socialism is idealistic because it is difficult to achieve. But choosing a system, capitalism, that is flawed by design to lower expectations is no better. I say choosing but really, it’s the rich who have worked hard at convincing us since the industrial revolution that it is the way to go. Capitalism is flawed by design because the only way to get rich is at the cost of someone else’s capital. You can’t have rich people without poor people. We should, as citizens, show solidarity to our fellow man. We can’t keep letting the rich get away with their abuse of our system.

          1. Rich and poor have nothing to do with a political system. Every country every political system since Creation there has always been rich and poor. You can’t blame or praise politics for that. By that logic then everyone would have the exact same salary no matter how hard you work or don’t work. Some people will always work hard and some will always slack off. Money is the incentive. Even more so in Canada, due to the brain drain effect that was mentioned earlier in this conversation.

          2. Throw everything you own away then. Because if you really liked Socialism or Communism, you wouldn’t have any assets really.

        8. I want to know if the USA goes socialist how long before th hey take our homes , and what wealth we have accumulated.. and how does it it thru taxes?

        9. I normally don’t comment, but I always thought the genocides, the Gulags, etc. came about because of fascism, not communism. Is this incorrect?

          1. Yes, that is incorrect. The gulags were communist Russia, the genocide of the uighurs is happening as we write in China by the communist party, the communist pol pot murdered 3,ooo,ooo out of 9,000,000 Cambodians in the 70s with his Khmer rouge(translation red cambodia) backed by red China…I could go on.

        10. So much incorrect information here, NO ONE should be taking this seriously. Obviously written by a far-right extremist and greedy capitalist.

          1. Julie, interesting perspective. “written by a far-right extremist and greedy capitalist.” when I see people make statements like yours. I have to ask how many fingers are pointing back at you? Your closed mind judgment gave you away. when I read this article. I thought just the opposite! thinking this person is clearly wanting and thinking socialism! What was really left out in this article was mention of loss of freedoms! People are like frogs in the hot water. slowly boiling away without even realizing the government is taking their freedoms away. IMO this is what you give up when you live in Canada (and many EU countries). Freedom!

            1. Best reply here! I have been in Mexico and America for the past 7 months; terrified of returning to Canada. The governments in Canada have used the Covid pandemic to hide a blatant attack on freedom and private business ownership. Now the medical community is disregarding the vaccine science and putting all Canadians on a 2nd dose timeline that will ensure they can keep using Covid as a propaganda and fear tool.

              I am born and raised and Canadian but have had the opportunity to travel the world. I am most fortunate to have spent a great deal of time in the USA. Anyone who challenges that the USA is the greatest nation state in the history of the modern world does not understand freedom or the sacrifices that Americans have made to make freedom even a present possibility. There is nothing greater than freedom!

          2. The two go hand and hand. Look at other communist countries other than Russia. They all have their gulags and serious human rights issues. Communism or facisim really not much of a difference. Oh, do not forget the bread lines, totally devalued monetary system and total lack of motivation for the average person to strive for anything other than to get the hell out. How many people risked their lives to get into Russia, China, north Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam? Anyone that thinks Communisim can work is either clueless or is for some reason looking to place their failures or shortcomings onto something else instead of wanting to grow up and accept personal responsibility.

          3. The overall impression of what is transpiring in Canada under Prime Minister T. is that we have truly lost our national pride and identity. We are no longer an example of what is right in the world – we are lead by a person without depth or wisdom – a man who is more a follower than a leader. Yes, the world is changing but we the people of Canada are now adrift in the stillness of complacency.

          4. Virginia Mae Turner

            Thank you for this information about Canada. I never thought of Canada as a socialist country until a political person wrote so. So this prompt me to do my own research. This information cleared cleared the misinformation received.

          5. Canada aims toward, but hasn’t yet fully understood, that we need to create the conditions for growth for human beings.

            The adults in a population that are “lazy” and troubled are often impacted by trauma in their family and culture/community. The remedy is relationship, connectedness, and emotional safety, the engines of maturation.

            The social determinants of emotional health are the same for economic health. We need strong resilient creative people to populate our family, community and economic lives. We need to face the traumas in our lives now, together, and look at our long histories of violence and create some stability so that each person can decide what is enough or how to contrbute in this one wild and precious life.

            Modern economic theory needs to shift its lens to understanding how to create tbe co ditions for optimum growth of human beings.

            PS go to my YouTube on the economics of early childhood development or

            Dr. Nadine Burke Harris Ted talk on tbe impact of adverse childhood experiences.

            And Google the social determinants of health. Attachment or connectedness aka families within a supportive community is tbe primary determinant in the list, often referred to as ‘the early years’.

          6. This article is so biased. A Canadian friend had his name in the wait list for a primary care doctor. After waiting over a year, he was given a doctor he didn’t want. He either had to take that doctor or go to the bottom of the list. He came to the US for an x-ray because he had to wait months to get one in Canada. His mom went into the hospital not feeling well and died after waiting weeks for care.

            Communism never had good points for the people. My parents visited Russia in the 70’s. Women were lined up by the hundreds to put their name on a list to get the one dress available. The first 40 got the dress and the others were on a list to never be called. The food came in bowls that had long, narrow necks so you couldn’t get the meat out, only the broth. That way they could reuse the meat. This was a trip of businessmen and spouses who were being treated to Russia’s finest things.
            Don’t be fooled by socialism and communism.

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