The Atkinson Foundation (AF) recognized the need to create an independent and credible national voice to measure the economic, health, social and environmental wellbeing of Canadians. AF incubated the CIW as an in-house project until the end of 2010 when they found a permanent home for the CIW at the University of Waterloo.
- AF convened Canadian index experts to look at how to create a tool to measure the wellbeing of Canadians.
Working with the Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN), ACF sponsored a project "Asking Citizens What Matters for Quality of Life” and then develops a prototype of quality of life national indicators. The project involved consultations with 346 participants in 40 discussion groups across Canada.
- The Canadian Research Advisory Group (CRAG) was established to develop the CIW.
- AF set up a Funders' Alliance to enable the development of the CIW.
- CRAG begins work on the first five domains of the CIW framework. They include Living Standards, Community Vitality, Healthy Populations, Education, and Time Use.
Three sets of public consultations are held in communities across the country to engage hundreds of everyday Canadians. Feedback is received and a network of local champions is seeded.
From 2009 to 2010, special reports and the eight domains were released.
- CIW Network moved to permanent home within the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo and releases the first complete version of the CIW's signature product, the CIW national composite index. The resulting 368 media stories reach 34 million people worldwide.
- Between 2012 and 2016, the CIW released the second national composite index, conducted six community wellbeing surveys and released a CIW provincial composite index report for Ontario.
- Receives two awards: President's Award of Distinction from Parks and Recreation Ontario (2012), International Impact Award from Community Indicators Consortium (2013)
- Third national composite index report (November 22, 2016)
- Five Ontario regional wellbeing snapshot reports (December 6, 2016)