Canada: #1 housing, 3rd Overall in Quality of Life!

Canadians best-off in housing, 3rd overall in new OECD “Quality Of Life” survey!

How typically Canadian, we do really well in the survey of best Quality of Life then say … well we’re 3rd so, you know, that’s just fine, sort of … at least we are pounding our mortgages out in 1/3 less time than we thought we needed. Maybe it is time for the government to let the tourniquet off of the mortgage rules for a bit so we can buy our homes again. 

OTTAWA — Canada is among the best places in the world to live, according to a new quality of life measure from a leading international organization that compared rich industrialized nations.

Canadians are paying off mortgages quickly — so is Ottawa’s crackdown really necessary?

Canadians end up paying off their mortgages in about two-thirds of the time originally intended, according to a new survey which questions whether Ottawa’s crackdown on the real estate market is needed.

The “Better Life Index” from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development launched Tuesday finds Canada among the leaders in most of the 24 indicators measured, everything from hard data dealing with jobs and income, to perceptions of something the OECD calls “life satisfaction.”

Canada ranked first in a couple of minor sub-indicators. For example, with 2.6 rooms per person, Canadians are on average the best housed by that measure, and they are also among the safest, reporting the fewest assaults.

The Paris-based organization does not give an overall ranking, but if all the indicators are added up and given equal weighting, Canada would come in third behind Australia and Sweden.

 Ironically, Australians don’t see themselves so blessed. On the life satisfaction measure, Australians gave themselves a 7.2 out of 10, while Canadians were at 7.4. Residents of Switzerland topped the indicator with a 7.8.

 “Canada performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index,” the organization says in its profile of the country.

 “In general, Canadians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 82% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day than negative ones.”

Canada’s high ranking comes about because it scores inside the Top 10 in most of the major ones and above average overall among the 36 advanced countries studied.


Perhaps surprising, Canadians also appear to trust their governments more than many others. According to the OECD, 67% say they trust their political institutions, well above the 36-country average of 56%.

 However, when it comes to voting, Canadians fell well below the OECD average of 72% with a record of only 61%.

On more mainstream criteria, Canada ranked in the Top 10 in terms of household disposable income, wealth, educational attainment, self-reported health — although the 81-year life expectancy is middle of the pack.

Overall, the OECD comparison is more flattering to Canadians than the recent Human Development Index from the United Nations, which had Canada slipping to number 11 in 2012

The OECD measure appears more broad-based, with 11 major categories of well-being measured, as opposed the UN’s three — health, education and living standard.

Both, however, include subjective elements that have given rise to skepticism about their usefulness for public policy. While many of the OECD indicators are based on hard data, such as incomes, employment rates and life expectancy, it also includes self-reporting evaluations of such subjective criteria as life satisfaction, state of personal health and water quality.

While mostly positive, the OECD analysis of Canada is not all glowing. It points out that despite a high income level, Canada also has a high level of income disparity.

As well, Canada gets a below average score on job security, with 11% of employees working on a “contract” of six months or less, slightly higher than the OECD average of 10%.

Canadian Press