The Macdonald-Laurier Institute was listed No. 8 among Canadian Think Tanks in the seventh annual Global Go To Think Tanks Report, produced by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, ahead of a number of more established Canadian think tanks. Among think tanks in the Mexico and Canada region, MLI was 12th out of 30 institutes ranked for the year 2013.

According to the TTCSP, the report "is compiled with assistance from over 1,500 peer institutions and experts from the print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions, and governments around the world and ranks the top 150 global think tanks across four general categories: Top Think Tanks in the World, Top Think Tanks by Region, Top Think Tanks by Area of Research, and Top Think Tanks by Special Achievement".

For 2012, MLI was ranked 3rd in the category of Best New Think Tanks.

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