Canadian Index Of Wellbeing

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The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) is a study that measures the wellbeing of Canadians.  Launched in 2009, the CIW uses rigorous research to determine whether Canadians are making progress towards sustainable wellbeing in eight inter-connected domains, or categories – Health, Living Standards, Community Vitality, Environment, Leisure and Culture, Education, Time Use, and Democratic Engagement. A total of 64 indicators, taken from over 130 data sources, are used to monitor these domains.

Each annual report provides timely, accurate information that anyone, including policy makers, investors and funders, nonprofit and charitable organizations and government, can use to get a clear picture of the quality of life of Canadians at a given moment in time.

It is a much-needed tool for informing the development of programs and activities that are most likely to move Canadians closer to achieving wellbeing. As such, in early 2014, OTF commissioned the CIW to produce a provincial report entitled How Are Ontarians Really Doing? 

Spanning a 17-year period (1994 to 2010), this report tells the story of Ontario’s successes and challenges in each of the CIW’s eight domains of wellbeing and makes comparisons to the rest of the country. It provides insights based on trends over those years, and offers innovative policy options to build on strengths and address areas of concern. 

As a result of this collaboration, the Foundation made the decision to base its six Action Areas – the areas in which we focus our investments – on 12 of the CIW’s measurement indicators.

OTF Action Area CIW Indicator(s)
active people
  • Average monthly frequency of participation in physical activity is greater than 15 minutes
  • Percentage of Ontarians with self-reported diabetes
connected people
  • Percentage of Ontarians reporting participation in organized activities
  • Percentage of Ontarians reporting a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat strong’ sense of belonging to  the community
green people
inspired people
  • Average percentage of time spent on the previous day in arts and culture activities
promising people
  • Percentage of children doing well on five developmental domains
  • Average of five social and emotional competence scores among 12-13 year olds
  • Percentage of 20-24 year olds completing high school
prosperous people

Although influenced by many other factors, these indicators are the best measure of OTF’s accumulated impact over the next decade. Changes – as measured and reported by the CIW – will signal whether our investments are having the impact we are striving for.

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