Wellbeing as the lens for decision-making in Canada

Read: The CIW National Index Report: How Are Canadians Really Doing?

Can we say that our lives have improved alongside economic growth?

Until now, Canada did not have an answer to this question. GDP is a number that tells us about one dimension of our wellbeing – our economy. The CIW as a partner to GDP provides Canadians with a fuller picture of wellbeing that measures real life, for real people. We start with eight domains that focus on key aspects of life and use them to measure what really matters to Canadians. 

Through several rounds of coast-to-coast-to-coast public consultations with everyday Canadians, they told us wellbeing frames their aspirations.

Understanding the interconnectedness of many aspects of wellbeing, and using it to fuel evidence-based and community-focused decision-making, is why the CIW exists.

The CIW regularly reports on the quality of life of Canadians – nationally, provincially, and locally – and advocates for social change that reflects our values and places wellbeing at the heart of policy. Our next issue of How are Canadians Really doing? will be coming out in 2023. While the most current data will be from 2020, we have over 20 years of trend data, including the 2008 recession, to help us imagine what might happen to the wellbeing of Canadians post-Covid, and help decision-makers make the best decisions for everyday Canadians.

About the Canadian Index of Wellbeing

What we do

Domains and indicators 

Start the conversation

Watch CIW Director, Dr. Bryan Smale, explain the importance of getting beyond GDP to measure and track changes in wellbeing. Two of the CIW's community partners (Nancy Mattes, former Director of Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo and Danny Graham, Chief Engagement Officer of Engage Nova Scotia) explain how using the CIW is providing a systems-thinking, collaborative approach to solving complex social issues in their communities.

Watch our introductory video and start talking to your friends and families, colleagues and elected officials, about the kind of Canada you want.

  1. Oct. 12, 2020Canadians are rich, but this Thanksgiving, our well-being is trickier to measure (CBC)
    A couple in Ottawa enjoying a warm autumn day

    Can economics tell us what to be thankful for in the middle of a pandemic?

    Don Pittis, CBC News

  2. Aug. 6, 2020Deliberate degrowth
    various thicknesses/sizes of arrows all pointing down

    Have we arrived at the moment when we need to seriously consider deceleration?

    By Paul Gallant

  3. Dec. 12, 2019Never mind the GDP. How are the people doing? (The Globe And Mail)
    A dollar bill with a bunch of flowers on top

                                                                                                                    Illustration by Hanna Barczyk

    By Elizabeth Renzetti for The Globe And Mail

Read all news
  1. July 10, 20177 easy ways to boost wellbeing this summer
    a summer picture of people relaxing by a pond

  2. June 28, 2017Celebrate! Leisure and culture is good for you…and for Canada
    Fireworks celebration

    It’s encouraging to see people flocking to national parks, historic sites and free cultural events to celebrate Canada’s 150th with their friends and family. It’s not just about national pride. It’s important for national wellbeing.

  3. May 30, 2017Why GDP needs a partner: the Canadian Index of Wellbeing
    Do you care more about the length of your commute or today’s GDP numbers? It’s time we cared about both

View all blog posts