Backgrounder and quick facts


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 five regions, based on boundaries used by Ontario ministries.

In this series of reports, we provide snapshots and full portraits of each of the five regions using the latest data from 2014 and 2015 to form a comprehensive picture of wellbeing in Ontario. These reports are designed to help funders, agencies, policy-makers and all stakeholders in making informed, evidence-based decisions as we build healthy and vibrant communities.

OTF used the CIW in the creation of our Action Areas, and as we accumulate more data, these reports in tandem with other sources will help establish the best measure for OTF’s accumulated impact over the next decade.



  • CIW is a study that measures the wellbeing of Canadians
  • CIW uses research to determine whether Canadians are making progress towards sustainable wellbeing in eight inter-connected domains, or categories – Health, Living Standards, Community Vitality, Environment, Leisure and Culture, Education, Time Use, and Democratic Engagement
  • OTF commissioned CIW to do a report called How Are Ontarians Really Doing? in 2014
  • As a result of this collaboration, the Foundation made the decision to base its six Action Areas – the areas in which we focus our investments – on 12 of the CIW’s measurement indicators
  • Changes as measured in these reports will signal whether our investments are having the impact we are striving for
  • Previously, this report focused on Ontario as a whole, these reports are broken down by region



  • One-third of the population is a visible minority, higher than any other place except Toronto page 21
  • 1 in 10 people experience discrimination page 13 one of the highest in Ontario page 27 next to Toronto
  • One of the lowest percentages (6.7%) of people with a working knowledge of both official languages page 22
  • People report good overall health, but the lowest percentage of immunization against influenza page 42
  • Second lowest rating on the Crime Severity Index (39.6, East lowest 31.3) page 26



  • Lowest employment rate (54.8%) page 21 and highest unemployment rate (9.4%) page 21, page 49
  • Highest percentage of people with working knowledge of both official languages – twice the provincial rate page 22
  • Highest rating on Crime Severity Index (69.1) page 26
  • Less than 1 in 5 have a university education, almost half the provincial rate page 33
  • Lowest ratings of self-reported overall health and mental health page 41 and lowest rate of access to physician page 43



  • Highest percentage of people getting immunized page 42
  • Lowest level of visible minorities population (13.6%, Toronto is highest 48.4%) page 21
  • Lowest rating on Crime Severity Index (31.3, highest is north 69.1) page 26
  • Lowest rate in the province of people participating in arts and culture activities page 45
  • Lowest level of people reporting work-related stress page 51, and the lowest percentage of people working 50+ hours per week page 53



  • Highest percentage of people working long hours page 53, and highest levels of time pressure in province along with Toronto page 55
  • Lower percentages of people with good overall health and good mental health than provincial average page 41,
  • Highest rate of access to a physician than any other region in the province page 43
  • Second highest crime severity index (58.5, highest in the north 69.1) page 26
  • Highest levels of ground-level ozone/smog (29.3) page 37 and greenhouse gas emissions in the West region represent 57.9% of the total emissions for the province as a whole page 38



  • Lowest after-tax median income and one of highest levels of unemployment (9.3%, north is highest 9.4%) page 21
  • Highest percentage of people facing food and housing insecurity page 50
  • Higher rate on Crime Severity Index than province (56), but still lower than other regions (West 58.5, North 69.1) page 26
  • Second lowest rate of people with access to a physician beside the north page 43
  • Highest rate of stress among all regions page 51, and commute times are by far the highest in Ontario page 53-54