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How are Ontarians Really Doing?

This week marks the release of the CIW’s first provincial index report, How are Ontarians Really Doing? For both Ontario and Canada between 1994 and 2010 growth in GDP far outpaced growth in our wellbeing. In other words, improvements in our quality of life have been sluggish compared to growth in our economy.

Graph showing GDP for Canada and Ontario vs CIW for Canada and Ontario

While Ontario and Canada have similar overall results, their paths have been very different.

Trends are very similar in Education, Healthy Populations, and Time Use

  • Ontario and Canada saw almost identical gains in Education (36.0% and 36.2%) and very similar gains in Healthy Populations (5.6% and 6.1% respectively)
  • In both Ontario and Canada, the Time Use domain has only improved by 1.1% and 1.2%, which reflects a chronic time crunch

Ontario leads in Community Vitality

  • Ontario leads the country in Community Vitality – 5% higher at 15.4% (10.3% nationally) – evidence that we pull together in hard times

A dubious distinction for doing “less poorly” on the Environment and in Leisure and Culture

  • Even though Ontario’s 1.9% decline in the Environment domain is still four times better than Canada’s dismal drop of 7.9%, it is not a result to celebrate
  • There is also little to celebrate when the decline in Leisure and Culture (down by 5.9%) in Ontario is a better performance than the national average of (down by 7.8%) 

Ontario lags in Democratic Engagement and Living Standards

  • Democratic Engagement is four times weaker in Ontario than the national average (up by 1.7% versus 7.0% in Canada)
  • Ontario made less than half the gains in Living Standards as the rest of Canada (6.5% versus 14.3%). What’s worse, Ontario’s Living Standards fell by almost 23% in three years (from 29.2% in 2007 to 6.5% in 2010).

The report concludes with ten recommendations for policy makers on how to improve wellbeing for Ontarians.

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