Canadian Index of Wellbeing launched

Roy Romanow entered the room to waves of applause. The early morning crowd had grabbed a muffin or some fruit and were now visiting between tables as they waited for the early morning launch of the new Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW).

Annie Kidder from People for Education chatted with John Ralston Saul (who reminded Canadians recently of Peace, Order and Well-being). Wellesley’s Institute’s Michael Shapcott twittered about the event from the back. Three funders (United Way Toronto, Maytree Foundation and Toronto Community Foundation) sat together chatting with a reporter.

Researcher geeks from across the country clapped each other on the back and hugged. Activists were almost jovial. They were here to see the launch of a new tool which, as one speaker said, would set aside the measurement of wealth and economic growth for the measurement of happiness.

Romanow’s opening comment caught the sentiment of the moment, reminded all that the historic St. Lawrence Hall, where the launch was being held, was where some of the very fathers of Confederation had gathered in the 18o0s.

The CIW will cover 8  domains; yesterday, three of those categories were launched: Living Standards, Healthy Populations, and Community Vitality.

Reports on the other domains will emerge as they are prepared. They include:

When the Atkinson Foundation set out to introduce this measure, the task seemed unwieldy and ambitious. Yet workgroups were formed, academics were pulled in, and consultations had.

Today, the CIW is everything it needed to be.

Questioners after the presentation quickly saw its strengths, looking to see how the Index could be used for different geographies, different populations and to develop policy solutions.

Indeed, one of the wisest parts of the the new CIW’s inauguration, because it assures further sustainability, is the simultaneous launch of an Institute of Wellbeing, in association with the University of Waterloo and Social Innovation Generation.

The CIW has a real chance of making a meaningful impact on the way we see our communities. Bravo!

Deutsche Bank Research on Measures of Well-being

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