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Canada is the 14th-best country for remote work

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European countries dominate the GRWI this year. However, Canada is higher than the USA 

Canada ranks two places lower compared to last year’s data and stands at 14 as the best country for remote work, according to new research by the cybersecurity company NordLayer. Last year, the company created the Global Remote Work Index (GRWI), which reveals the best and worst countries to work remotely in terms of four different criteria: cyber safety, economic safety, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety. 

This year, NordLayer evaluated 108 countries compared to 66 last year.  Here are the top 10 countries that are best for remote work according to this year’s data:

  1. Denmark
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Germany
  4. Spain
  5. Sweden
  6. Portugal
  7. Estonia
  8. Lithuania
  9. Ireland
  10. Slovakia

The index was compiled by assessing and comparing countries using four index dimensions. Under each dimension are various attributes (sub-dimensions) that, combined, help evaluate general remote-work attractiveness:

1. Cyber safety — infrastructure, response capacity, and legal measures.

2. Economic safety — tourism attractiveness, English language proficiency, cost of living, and healthcare.

3. Digital and physical infrastructure — internet quality and affordability, e-infrastructure, e-government, and physical infrastructure.

4. Social safety — personal rights, inclusiveness, and safety.

How does Canada rank?

Canada performs exceptionally well in terms of economic safety (3), and it is pretty well placed in terms of both physical and digital infrastructure (15), and social safety (21).

Meanwhile, cyber safety is not among its main strengths (32). Overall, Canada is ranking relatively well across the board, with the majority of its rankings falling between 10 and 20 places, with only significant negative exceptions being the cost of living (83), internet affordability (49), and overall safety (50), all of which seem to be quite characteristic in well-performing economies globally.

In terms of cybersecurity, while Canada’s (32) overall ranking is not the best, this is rather because of tough competition than the actual situation in the country itself. In fact, Canada ranks very well in terms of cybersecurity infrastructure (5), and both legislation-wise (18) and response capacity-wise (12) it is not doing too bad either.

In the face of the growth of new technologies, including the 5G internet service, Canada is further working on its cybersecurity legislation. In 2022 it passed “Bill C-26”, which is expected to enact an extensive framework of cybersecurity regulation to cope with the new challenges.

Canada vs. USA

Compared to Canada’s only Northern American neighbor, the USA (16 in the overall ranking), both countries are performing very similarly in terms of cyber safety (32 and 33, respectively) and economic safety (3 and 2), with very slight differences across the subcategories.

However, the USA (6) is doing slightly better than Canada (15) in terms of digital and physical infrastructure. This is predominantly due to a major difference in terms of internet affordability, where Canada (49) is heavily surpassed by the USA (2). The only area in Canada that slightly surpasses its southern neighbor is e-infrastructure (19 vs. 23), with all the rest of the economic subcategories playing slightly to the US’s advantage.

Moreover, social safety in Canada (21) is heavily ahead of the USA (37). While personal freedom (19 vs. 20) and general safety-wise (50 vs. 62), Canada is doing better than the USA, the most telling factor is social inclusivity, where Canada (10) surpasses the USA (28) almost three times.  

In summary, comparing these two fairly similar neighbors points to at least a mild correlation between reality and the stereotypes of Canada being the more socially friendly and the USA being the more economically-focused of the pair.

Practice good cybersecurity habits

“Even though some of the big tech companies recently brought their employees back to the office or introduced a hybrid work model, remote work is here to stay. It’s not just a trend — it is a fundamental shift in how we approach productivity and work-life balance. Embracing remote work empowers our teams to harness their full potential, regardless of geographical boundaries,” notes Donatas Tamelis, managing director at NordLayer.

For people interested in remote work, Tamelis recommends practicing several good cybersecurity practices:

  • Always use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet connection and helps protect your personal information from prying eyes. It is especially crucial when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Also, ensure that all your devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, have the latest software updates installed. These updates often include security patches that can help protect against known vulnerabilities.
  • Be cautious with public Wi-Fi and avoid accessing sensitive information such as online banking or entering passwords on public Wi-Fi networks unless you are using a VPN. Hackers can easily intercept data on unsecured networks.
  • Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible for your email accounts, social media profiles, and other online services you use while traveling. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification during login.
  • Use strong and unique passwords. Create strong passwords for each of your online accounts and avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. Consider using a password manager like NordPass to securely store and generate complex passwords.

“In the age of remote work, cybersecurity is not just an option. It’s a critical necessity to safeguard our data and protect our organization from evolving cyber threats. Working remotely opens up new opportunities, but it also exposes us to potential security risks. Cybersecurity vigilance is our first line of defense,” says Tamelis from NordLayer.

Methodology: The Global Remote Work Index by NordLayer was conducted based on four dimensions that focus on countries’ cyber safety, economic conditions, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety. Here you can find the full methodology: https://nordlayer.com/global-remote-work-index/2023/methodology/