By the Numbers: Canadian Well-being Index, quality of life declining

What is Wellbeing? – The presence of the highest possible quality of life in its full breadth of expression, focused on but not necessarily exclusive to: good living standards, robust health, a sustainable environment, vital communities, an educated populace, balanced time use, high levels of democratic participation, and access to and participation in leisure and culture. (definition by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing)

A second report, titled How Are Canadians Really Doing?, recently released by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, shows that the recession didn’t hurt only the economy but it also damaged our health, and overall reduced our quality of life.

From 1994 to 2010 the GDP grew 28.9% while the Canadians’ quality of life as measured by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) improved only 5.7%.

The GDP alone can’t measure how well Canadians are faring. During the recession (2008-2010) the standard of living for Canadians decreased by 10.4%, mainly due to reduced levels of economic security, the increased number of people out of work or working temporary, part-time, precarious jobs, and a general lower level of quality of employment.


Wellbeing since recession (2008-2010)


Following the 2008 recession the GDP dropped 8.3% with slight signs of recovery by 2010, while the CIW declined a stunning 24% with no sign of recovery.

Community Vitality: Increased 2.2%

Democratic Engagement: Increased 0.6%

Education: Increased 1.2%

The Environment: Decreased 0.8%

Healthy Populations: Decreased 0.2%

Leisure and Culture: Decreased 3.0%

Living Standards: Decreased 10.4%

Time Use: Increased 1.7%

Source: Canadian Index of Wellbeing report