We are living through complicated times in world economics, leaving many feeling uncertain about what the future holds. Canada seems to be faring better than many countries, which raises the question: is this true and if so, why?
Asking these questions highlights a weakness in how we currently measure the wellbeing of our country. Up until now, we have relied on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the sole indicator of how our nation is doing. As robust a tool as it is, the GDP only tells us about the economy; not about our people, our environment, our democracy, or other aspects of life that matter to Canadians.
The hallmarks of a good quality of life, in a country as prosperous as Canada, range from the right to the best public education and health care protection our tax dollars can buy, to the ability to balance work with family needs, to take the kids out to a ball game, to be able to afford a home and a vacation, to spend time with our grandparents, to volunteer in the service of others, to walk free of fear when the sun goes down, to live in a country committed to a cleaner environment, to know that having a say in shaping our future is really a reflection of how free we are and how strong our democracy truly is.
Are all citizens enjoying the same access to wellbeing? And is it the highest possible standard of wellbeing? This is one of Canada’s most fundamental challenges moving forward in the 21st century.
That’s why the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) has created a comprehensive composite index built to measure the wellbeing of the real life of our citizenry. Today, for the first time in our country’s history, we have a transparent picture of how our quality of life – in all of its many dimensions – is changing. The CIW calculates not just how our economy is faring, but more importantly how our people and communities are faring. This will help governments at all levels make evidence-based policies that are responsive to the needs and values of Canadians. And, it will empower citizens to hold government accountable for achieving progress.
Already recognized as a global leader by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the CIW is a made-in-Canada innovation that we are proud to launch into the world.