Sunday, June 5, 2011

OECD: Canadians have 'better life'

Canadians trail only Aussies in quality of life: Study
Postmedia News: Canadians have a 'better life' than anyone in the western world except -- by a narrow margin -- Australians... The Better Life Initiative survey marked a major attempt by the Paris-based OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development], an economic and social policy think-tank funded by its members, to provide a broader measure of a country's success than gross domestic product...

The index compares the 34 countries in 11 areas -- housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance. Canada ranked first in terms of access to affordable housing, second on 'life satisfaction,' and third on three categories -- safety, health and education.

Canada's worst score was in the area of governance, where it was near the middle of the pack. While 67 per cent of Canadians trust their political institutions, well above the OECD average of 56 per cent, voter turnout in national elections was around 60 per cent -- well below the 72 per cent average. The report, in a commentary on government transparency, noted that Canadians can't use the Internet or telephone to get information under Canada's access-to-information laws. 'In addition, there are no provisions for anonymity or protection from retaliation.'

In its breakout analysis for Canada, the OECD tossed in a poll result from 2008 that wasn't considered in Canada's overall ranking but may, according to an official, help explain why many in the country have 'better lives.' Roughly two-thirds of Canadians, or 66 per cent, 'reported having helped a stranger in the last month, the highest figure in the OECD' and well above the average of 46 per cent.
Image source here.