About The Reports

​​​​​​What are these reports?

To build on strengths and tackle challenges, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) — an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations — commissioned the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW)​ to produce detailed reports of community wellbeing for 5 regions, based on boundaries used by several of the Ministries in Ontario.

In this series of reports, we provide portraits of each of the five regions of Ontario using the most recent data available on selected indicators for each of the domains of wellbeing. By examining selected indicators of wellbeing within and across the eight domains of the CIW, these portraits can help inform the planning, development, and implementation of programs and services that have greater potential to enhance the wellbeing of Ontarians, especially those who might be most marginalized. Creating portraits based on the CIW also provides an opportunity to learn more about the complexity of wellbeing in people’s lives and to see how it varies across the five main regions of the province.

For each region, we provide a Full Report, beginning with a brief demographic profile of the region, highlighting characteristics that make it unique. In the sections that follow, we present the eight domains of the CIW with descriptions of indicators of wellbeing that reflect how well Ontarians are doing within the region. Finally, a summary section highlights the distinctiveness of the region and points to potential interconnections among the domains. Three appendices are included that provide more detail on the methods and data sources (Appendix A), the specific indicators for the region and Ontario overall (Appendix B), and a glossary of terms used throughout the reports (Appendix C).

We also developed a Snapshot Report for each region which includes key highlights in a more at-a-glance format. The Snapshot Reports are featured online here in OTF's Knowledge Centre, and links to download accessible versions of both the Full Report and the Snapshot Report for each region are provided.


There are many definitions of wellbeing. The Canadian Index of Wellbeing has adopted the following as its working definition:

The presence of the highest possible quality of life in its full breadth of expression focused on but not necessarily exclusive to: good living standards, robust health, a sustainable environment, vital communities, an educated populace, balanced time use, high levels of democratic participation, and access to and participation in leisure and culture.


The Canadian Index of Wellbeing was created through the combined efforts of national leaders and organizations, community groups, international research experts, indicator users, and in particular, consultation with hundreds of Canadians. Those efforts and consultations led to the identification of the following eight areas or domains that contribute to, and continuously affect, the wellbeing of Canadians:
  • Community Vitality
  • Democratic Engagement
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Healthy Populations
  • Leisure and Culture
  • Living Standards
  • Time Use
We selected valid, reliable, and relevant measures as the indicators of the various aspects of a domain’s contribution to wellbeing. By integrating the indicators and domains and revealing their complex interconnections, the CIW provides a comprehensive portrait of quality of life in Canada and in Ontario.

The CIW composite index tracks all indicators and domains of wellbeing to measure our progress over time, highlighting where we are doing well and where we could be doing better. By 2014, we have seen GDP rise by 12.7% from its lowest point following the recession of 2008, yet the wellbeing of Canada’s residents continues to lag behind, recovering at a much slower rate. The CIW’s call to action is to encourage all sectors to be guided by solid evidence, and to empower Canadians to advocate for change that reflects their needs and values. By putting wellbeing at the heart of policy development, funding decisions, program development, and service delivery, we respond to our desire to know, “How can we do better?”


Ontario’s GDP has recovered by 11.2% from its lowest point following the recession of 2008 — a good sign. However, the 2014 report commissioned by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, “How are Ontarians really doing?​”, showed that Ontarians’ overall wellbeing continues to lag well behind our economic growth.

While economic productivity in Ontario continues to recover, although not as quickly as for Canada overall, the wellbeing of Ontarians has not shown signs of rebounding from the recession in the same way that GDP has. To help address this gap, these reports provide evidence-based illustrations of the wellbeing of Ontarians in five different regions. These reports will therefore help us better understand the different challenges and opportunities that each region faces. We hope that everyone working to help improve wellbeing across the province can use the data provided in these reports to make more informed decisions when choosing how to focus their efforts.