The 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) marks the eleventh year of continued efforts by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide.

This year, the Fraser Institute, Institute for Research on Public Policy, Centre for International Governance Innovation, Canadian Global Affairs Institute, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute have been identified by the University of Pennsylvania’s annual Think Tank Index Report as the top five in Canada.

  1. Fraser Institute

Founded in 1974, the Fraser Institute’s 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.

The Fraser Institute is the top think-tank in Canada for the tenth straight year and ranks in the top 25 among all think-tanks worldwide.

“We take great pride in our independence—the Fraser Institute accepts no government funding, does not engage in contract research and relies entirely on donations from a diverse base of thousands of individuals, family foundations and other organizations, none of whom has any influence on our work,” said Niels Veldhuis, president of the Fraser Institute.

“The Fraser Institute also maintains a rigorous peer review process for its research and always openly and clearly explains the methodology and data sources in its publications.”

In addition to its overall ranking, the Fraser Institute ranks:

  • 4th in the world for social policy;
  • 7th for domestic health policy;
  • 8th for best use of the Internet;
  • 10th for best external relations and public engagement;
  • 13th for best use of social media; and
  • 16th for most innovative policy proposals.
  1. Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP)
  2. Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)​​

The Centre for International Governance Innovation is an independent, non-partisan think tank with an objective and uniquely global perspective. Research, opinions and public voice make a difference in today’s world by bringing clarity and innovative thinking to global policy making. More at:

  1. Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)

CGAI is an independent, non-profit organization funded mainly by corporate, foundation and individual donations and sponsorships.

“We’re proud to be recognized as one of Canada’s preeminent independent think tanks,” said Hon. John Manley, Chairman of the CGAI Advisory Council. “The Institute’s work contributes to crucial policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues. Maintenance of an independent, unbiased, non-partisan perspective is of the utmost importance, and we ensure this crucial mandate is applied to every aspect of CGAI and its work.”

Since its inception, CGAI’s mission has been to promote the active and effective involvement of Canada in the international arena. CGAI has pursued this mission through the production of authoritative, relevant, and rigorous public policy analysis, and the dissemination of this strategic analysis to Canadian policy-makers and the public. CGAI maintains a rigorous peer review process for its research through the work of its esteemed Fellows and Advisory Council.

“CGAI is known and respected for bringing independent viewpoints and diverse perspectives to the table,” said Kelly Ogle, president of CGAI. “We are honoured to be consistently ranked amongst the top think tanks in international affairs, and proud of our contribution towards Canadian global interests and promoting more active and effective international involvement.”

  1. Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI)

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is Canada's leading, independent, nationally focused think tank based in Ottawa. MLI exists to make poor public policy unacceptable in the nation's capital.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute remains the top think tank in Ottawa and one of the top five think tanks in Canada only after 7 years of operation, overtaking several of Canada's older and better funded institutes, Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley said.​

"MLI is increasingly gaining ground on some of Canada's more established think tanks," Crowley said. "In the last seven years we have solidified our reputation for insightful and timely conversation on national issues that matter the most to Canadians."

"These rankings are a great acknowledgement of the progress MLI has made in Canada's think tank community for thought leadership on issues of great national importance," Crowley said. "We look forward to continuing our substantive work in the new year."