CEOL

Quality of Life




Canada is said to offer one of the best qualities of life in the world. It remains a favorite country of choice of would-be immigrants strongly desiring a healthy and secured future. In fact, a number of studies conducted in the last two (2) decades have already lent credibility to this claim.

Following are some of the reputable official and independent studies conducted on the quality of life around the world wherein Canada is consistently ranked among the highest :

  1. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Quality of Life Index of 2005 survey which employed a unique methodology linking the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to objective determinants of quality of life across countries. Indicators include Health, Family Life, Community Life, Material Well-Being, Political Stability, Climate and Geography, Job Security, Political Freedom and Gender Equality.

    Canada ranked 14th out of 111 countries and got a score of 7.599 out of a scale of 1 to 10 in this study.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

  2. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) of 2008 which looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being. The HDI uses life expectancy, adult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level and standard of living measured by purchasing power parity (PPP) and income.

    Developed in 1990 by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian economist Amartya Sen, the HDI remains a universally accepted benchmark for measuring standards of well being among nations. It is also used to determine a country’s level of progress such that it can rightfully be classified as a developed, developing or under-developed nation. Finally, it is used to gauge the impact of government policies on a country’s progress in providing their citizenry a more promising quality of life.

    Canada ranked 3rd out of 179 countries surveyed and scored 0.967, a point shy of Iceland and Norway. Note that Canada has consistently placed high on past HDI studies.

    The table below summarizes the HDI trend from 2000 to 2006. Top ten (10) countries that placed high on the survey are shown.

    Country Rank and Score
    2006 2005 2004 2003 2000
    Iceland 1 – 0.968 1 – 0.967 3 – 0.962 2 – 0.959 6 – 0.945
    Norway 2 – 0.968 2 – 0.967 1 – 0.967 1 – 0.966 1 – 0.960
    Canada 3 – 0.967 3 – 0.965 2 – 0.963 5 – 0.956 4 – 0.950
    Australia 4 – 0.965 4 – 0.963 4 – 0.962 3 – 0.959 3 – 0.951
    Ireland 5 – 0.960 5 – 0.958 6 – 0.955 8 – 0.949 9 – 0.934
    Netherlands 6 – 0.958 7 – 0.956 7 – 0.953 6 – 0.952 5 – 0.949
    Sweden 7 – 0.958 6 – 0.957 5 – 0.956 4 – 0.957 2 – 0.952
    Japan 8 – 0.956 9 – 0.953 9 – 0.951 9 – 0.948 8 – 0.941
    Luxembourg 9 – 0.955 8 – 0.954 - - -
    Switzerland 10 – 0.955 10 – 0.953 8 – 0.952 7 – 0.950 7 – 0.955

    Note: Data not available for 2001 and 2002.
    Rounding off the above survey of 2006 is the next ten in order of rank, namely: France, Finland, Denmark, Austria, United States, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Italy and New Zealand.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

  3. Other independent studies reveal the same trends. International Living released recently its 2008 Quality of Life index report which ranked 193 countries. Factors such as cost of living, leisure and culture, economy, environment, freedom, health care, infrastructure, personal safety and risk factor, and the climate. In this report, Canada came out at number 16 virtually affirming the studies conducted by the United Nations.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

  4. Interestingly, the renowned Mercer Human Resources Consulting Group which comes out with annual reports on Global Quality of Living City Rankings also affirmed that Canada’s major urban centers are leading in terms of overall quality of life.

    The study is based on 39 quality of life criteria for each city covering Political and Social Environment, Economic Environment, Socio-cultural environment, Health and Sanitation, Schools and Education, Public Services and Transportation, Recreation, Consumer Goods, Housing and Natural Environment.

    The study covers over 215 cities in the world and is used mainly by companies in establishing compensation and levels of hazard pay for their employees who are being considered for posting outside of their home country.

    The top 100 Most Livable Cities in the world have been identified, five (5) of which major Canadian cities namely: Vancouver (ranked 3rd), Toronto (15th), Ottawa (18th), Montreal (22nd), and Calgary (24th).

    The same report noted that Canadian cities ranks among the highest in the region and in the world because of personal and family safety brought about by a very low crime rate in these cities, clean environment, efficient public transport and waste management system, and a stable political environment.

    For North America, Canadian cities dominate the map with the abovementioned cities ranked the top 5 for North America and have been identified by expatriates in the same ranking as their most preferred choices for relocation. Cities from the United States follow suit but all lag behind the Canadian cities - with Honolulu (27th), San Francisco (28th), Boston (36th), Washington and Chicago tied at 44th.

The above studies unmistakably support the conclusion of many that Canada ranks as one of the most desirable countries to live.