The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies is a division of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
On August 7, 2020, Professor Bryan Smale, Director of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, 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 Canadian Indicators Consortium announcement (accessible 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!