Canada to get new index to track wellbeing

      The Honourable Roy Romanow Introduces Canadian Index of Wellbeing
                       Launches Institute of Wellbeing
    First Report on Living Standards, Healthy Populations, Community Vitality

    TORONTO, June 10 /CNW/ - Move over GDP. A new index that experts say
offers a new and better way to measure quality of life for all Canadians was
introduced today. The new made-in-Canada index will report regularly on our
country's progress - or lack of it.
    The Honourable Roy Romanow unveiled the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW)
and presented its first report which brings together research findings in
three important areas of wellbeing: Living Standards, Healthy Populations and
Community Vitality.
    "Most Canadians realize that our wellbeing is not measured by just narrow
economic measures like the GDP," said the Honourable Roy Romanow, who chairs
the Institute developing the new Index. "Right now Canada lacks a single,
national instrument for tracking and reporting on our overall quality of life,
on the things that matter to Canadians. The Canadian Index of Wellbeing will
change that. It will give a quick snapshot of how we as Canadians are really
    Researchers say using measures such as the GDP as a surrogate for
wellbeing are misleading because they make no distinction between economic
activity that creates benefit and that which causes harm. They also ignore
many genuine contributions to wellbeing, such as volunteer work and unpaid
    The CIW will also shine a spotlight on the interconnections among these
important areas: how, for example, income and education are linked to changes
in health.
    One of the key findings of the first report is that even in so-called
economic good times, Canadian workers failed to reap their share of the
benefits of productivity growth, with hourly wages rising at only half the
rate of the GDP. And now with the downturn those numbers become even more
    The report also found that while Canadians are living longer, they are
not necessarily living better - and income and education play a big part in
how we fare.
    The Canadian Index of Wellbeing will cover eight areas of life in Canada:
our standard of living, our health, the vitality of our communities, our
education, the way we use our time, our participation in the democratic
process, the state of our arts, culture and recreation, and the quality of our
environment. These areas were chosen as the right things to measure, based on
the values of Canadians, through an in depth public consultation process
across Canada.
    By 2010, all eight domain reports will be made public. Once the overall
index is completed in 2010, it will measure, track and report on wellbeing
trends regularly and as new information is available.

    Institute of Wellbeing Launched

    Also announced today is the creation of an independent and non-partisan
Institute of Wellbeing, affiliated with the University of Waterloo.
    The Institute's work is guided by an advisory board of accomplished
Canadian and international experts. The board is chaired by the Honourable Roy
Romanow, former Commissioner on the Future of Health Care in Canada and the
Honourable Monique Bégin, Canada's Commissioner to the WHO Commission on
Social Determinants of Health, is Deputy Chair. Its signature product is the
Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW). It will also commission research and issue
reports on Canadian wellbeing, and identify gaps in knowledge relevant to
measuring wellbeing.
    The Institute is viewed internationally as a global pioneer in developing
an integrated approach to measuring wellbeing.
    "Indicators are very powerful and the GDP cannot be seen as our only
national quality of life indicator," said Monique Bégin, Deputy Chair of the
Institute of Wellbeing. "The CIW will connect the dots between Canadians'
quality of life and public policy decisions. Canadians want policy decisions
to reflect what really matters to them."
    For more information please go to

    TIME OF FEED:   3:00 pm ET - 3:30 pm ET
    DATE OF FEED:   June 10, 2009
    CO-ORDINATES:   Anik F2C
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    TIME OF POSTING:   3:00 pm ET
    DATE OF POSTING:   June 10, 2009

For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries: Lauren Bondar, Fleishman
Hillard Canada, (416) 645-8190, (647) 291-3161 (cell),

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