By Lynn Desjardins
A national study reports that the Canadian economy recovered after 2008 recession, but the well-being of Canadians took “a significant step backwards, and has only begun to recover.”
Citing data from almost 200 sources and government statistics, The Canadian Index of Wellbeing found that the Canadian economy grew 38 per cent between 19945 and 2014. At the same time improvements in well-being grew only 9.9 per cent.
Losses in leisure and culture
The biggest losses occurred in leisure and culture, with people spending less time taking in arts and cultural activities, socializing and going on vacation. Canadians, particularly women, “continue to feel the time crunch,” says the report. This is measured in how leisure time is spent, how much in talking to children, getting involved in the community, engagement in adult education.
Improvements in health and education
There have been improvements in health of the population and people are getting more education and are more engaged in the democratic process. And there has been an almost 15 per cent increase in “community vitality” which means Canadians pull together and feel they belong.
After 2008, living standards dropped almost 11 per cent and work is more precarious and less long-term employment.
The report suggests ways to improve Canadians’ well-being including a universal basic income, a national strategy to make education more accessible throughout life, health promotion, and universal access to leisure, arts, culture, sport, parks and recreation.