Dr. Bryan Smale receives international Leadership Award

On August 7, 2020, CIW Director, Dr. Bryan Smale, was honoured by the Community Indicators Consortium with a Hall of Heroes Leadership Award, a prestigious award recognizing a leader who has had significant, long-term impact on the indicators field and the improvement of community conditions and well-being. 

See award notice or text below.

Dr. Bryan Smale has had a long, distinguished career as a Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and as the Director of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (or CIW). He is highly respected, internationally and nationally. Over the years, several countries have approached him for advice on measuring quality of life of their citizens. In 2018, he was honored by Scotland’s First Minister who invited him to give the keynote address at an international conference to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Scotland’s National Performance Framework. Within Canada, he is currently advising the federal government on the development of their quality of life framework and has played an influential role as a member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Committee on Social Conditions. 

Bryan has played a direct and effective role in both the practical and academic development of indicators to improve community conditions and wellbeing. The CIW was first known as a national wellbeing framework and, in this field, has been recognized for over two decades as a global pioneer and the inspiration for citizen-based indicator frameworks in many countries including Australia, Scotland, Italy, and Germany. At the core of this work is citizen engagement in wellbeing planning and policymaking and this is what inspires Bryan's work. Bryan has ensured that the comprehensive CIW data and measurement framework has been translated from a national model to one applied to several provinces, cities and local communities through the creation of a second stream of research – the CIW Community Wellbeing Survey. Three regional governments are currently using the survey to track changes in social and community sustainability plans and/or for strategic planning. The survey has also generated much community interest by health units and other social service agencies working to improve the wellbeing of marginalized people in their communities. And, most recently, UNICEF Canada has engaged the CIW to develop a Child and Youth Wellbeing Survey that will be available to communities across Canada.

Bryan is being recognized today for his important role in bridging the gap between academia and community. In fact, he often says that it is the grassroots community collaborative process of engagement, and the ability of local leaders and citizens to transition the CIW’s research into action, that has raised awareness with all levels of government to the point that they can no longer ignore the need to place wellbeing at the center of policy development. Thank you and congratulations!

Canadian Index of Wellbeing wins Provincial award

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) received the 2012 Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) President’s Award of Distinction.

The award was accepted by Margo Hilbrecht (pictured far right), CIW Senior Research Associate, at the PRO Educational Forum with more than 500 delegates in attendance.  

Margo Hilbrecht accepting President's Award of Distinction

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing identifies, develops and publicizes statistical measures on wellbeing goals and outcomes Canadians seek as a nation.  In considering recipients for the President’s Award, the Board of Directors of PRO reflected on the commitment of the CIW to improving and protecting quality of life across the country through innovative research to inform policy change. The Board also noted that the importance of recreation and parks for quality of life is recognized throughout the work of the CIW.

“As a professor in the Recreation and Leisure Studies program, receiving an award from PRO is especially gratifying”, says Bryan Smale, Director of the CIW. “Like PRO, we at the CIW understand the critical role that recreation and leisure plays in enhancing the quality of lives of Canadians – that’s why it is a key component of the CIW.”

At the 2011 National Recreation Summit held in Alberta, recreation was recognized as a fundamental, core building block of vibrant communities and healthy people. It was at the Summit that the importance of the CIW was highlighted and identified as a leader in this process.

In October 2011, the CIW’s first composite index showed a modest 11% increase in national wellbeing for the fifteen year period starting in 1994. The Leisure and Culture domain–one of eight key areas measured by the Index–actually decreased by 3%, raising concerns about potential long-term impacts on citizens’ wellbeing.

The Honourable Roy J. Romanow, Chair of the CIW Advisory Board, points out that “over the past few years, we’ve seen Canadians become progressively more frustrated by what they see as a widening gap – a gap between citizen values and public policy; between what people believe in and what governments do; and between the world we envision and the one we actually live in. The CIW can help policy makers pay attention to the need to develop and provide meaningful venues and opportunities for participation in leisure and cultural activities which is so important to the wellbeing of individuals, communities, and Canadian society at large.”

For more information, visit Parks and Recreation Ontario.

Canadian Index of Wellbeing wins international award for work with City of Guelph

The Community Indicators Consortium (CIC) Impact award celebrates projects from around the world that demonstrate the power of indicators to drive positive community change. “It was an honour to attend #CICSummit 2013 and be surrounded by communities and researchers doing amazing work” says CIW Associate Director of Research Margo Hilbrecht, in Chicago October 17-18 with the City of Guelph to give a presentation and receive the prestigious award; the CIW’s first international award.

This award is a success story originating from a demand for local data after the launch of the CIW national composite index of wellbeing report How Are Canadians Really doing? First to approach the CIW for local data was the City of Guelph, Ontario and it resulted in the development of a new Community Wellbeing Survey tool. This innovation is the first of its kind in Canada and uses the CIW framework as a guide to ask residents how they are really doing.

The findings from the CIW survey, along with all of the other information gathered from the extensive community engagement process undertaken by the City of Guelph, has been used to create a community profile and the City’s new community wellbeing strategy. The strategy aims to improve services and facilitate community-wide action to enhance wellbeing in Guelph. Mayor Karen Farbridge says “receiving the Impact Award is a clear indication of how the Guelph community strongly values wellbeing…the initiative is a model of how residents and government can work together and share accountability to achieve better outcomes.”

group photo accepting CIC award in Chicago, 2013

Left to right: joe Baldwin, President, CIC; Margo Hilbrecht, Associate Director of Research, CIW; Barb Powell, General Manager of Community Engagement, City of Guelph; Craig Helmstetter, Award Chair, CIC. Photo courtesy of Flickr: Stephen B. Thomas, Oct. 17, 2013, Chicago.