New Ontario index puts wellbeing at the forefront

summary of domainsHow are Ontarians Really doing? (PDF) is the first provincial report to draw on the research used for the CIW’s national index. Spanning the turbulent period from 1994 to 2010, it tells the story of Ontario’s successes and challenges in each of the domains of wellbeing and makes comparisons to the rest of the country. It provides insights based on trends over that 17-year period and offers innovative policy options to build on strengths and address areas of concern.

From 1994 to 2010, Ontario experienced a period of extreme uncertainty. For a province accustomed to being an economic engine for the country, changes in economic conditions hit hard. The recession hit earlier, lasted longer, and had a larger impact in Ontario than for Canada as a whole. By 2011, Ontario had still not fully recovered. While the economy is just the backdrop to the story of Ontario’s wellbeing, it has had a significant impact on many aspects of our lives.

This report identifies highs and lows, points of tension, and the underlying complexity in Ontarians’ quality of life.


Significant progress in domains of Education, Community Vitality, and Healthy Populations

  • High marks for Education in Ontario (+36.0%)
  • Safer and more caring communities (+15.4%)
  • Complex signs and symptoms for Healthy Populations (+5.6%)

…is in stark contrast to the stagnation in Democratic Engagement and Time Use, an overall decline in the Environment, and downward trends in Leisure and Culture and in Living Standards, which lag far behind the Canadian average.

  • Ontarians are ambivalent about democracy (+1.7%)
  • Still caught in the time-crunch (+1.1%) 
  • No progress for the planet (-1.9%)
  • Where have all the good times gone? Less time for Leisure and Culture   (-5.9%)
  • Ontarians are feeling acute economic anxiety. Ontario’s Living Standards fell by almost 23% in three years (from +29.2% in 2007 to +6.5% in 2010)

Writing the next chapter together

There is nothing inevitable or unavoidable about the challenges we face. This is our province, our country, and we have a role — in fact, a responsibility — to define the next chapter of our future.

Collectively, Ontarians, our communities, and our governments require nothing more than imaginative ideas, resolve, and public policy that place wellbeing at its very heart.

Start the conversation

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