Family Well-being Index 

Measuring reach, results and impact to optimize family well-being in Canada

As governments and societies around the world have sought to broaden their measures of success beyond traditional economic measures such as a GDP, many are incorporating other indicators of well-being such as life satisfactionmental healthsocial connectionsinclusion and community engagement.

Canada’s Family Well-being Index

Families impact and are impacted by policies and programs delivered by all levels of government and in communities and workplaces across Canada. In this large, diverse and rapidly changing country, it can be difficult for those who study, serve and support families to measure the reach, results and impact of such policies and programs.

The Family Well-being Index is informed by some of the foremost experts in the development of well-being frameworks in Canada, drawn from the public and private sectors, who serve as Advisors. They include:

  • OFFICIAL STATISTICS/STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Jane Badets
    Former Assistant Chief Statistician, Statistics Canada
  • IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE/INDEX SCIENCE: Jack Jedwab, PhD
    President and CEO, Association for Canadian Studies/Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration 
  • DATA ANALYTICS: Jan Kestle
    President and CEO, Environics Analytics 
  • INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: Erin O’Sullivan, PhD
    Manager, Surveys and Data Development, Strategic Research and Data Innovation Branch, Indigenous Services Canada 
  • SENIORS: Parminder Raina, PhD
    Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University
  • INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES/INDEX SCIENCE: Bryan Smale, PhD
    Professor, Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo, andDirector, Canadian Index of Wellbeing 
  • MILITARY AND VETERANS: Nathan Svenson
    Director of Research, Veterans Affairs Canada
  • CHILDREN AND YOUTH: Lisa Wolff
    Director, Policy and Education, UNICEF Canada

The Index is grounded in the vision of the Vanier Institute of the Family, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), consistent with current academic thinking regarding family well-being and validated against OECD indicators from How’s Life? 2020: Measuring Well-being.

The Family Lens

Using a family lens means that the Index will illuminate dimensions of well-being for the family as a unit. Individuals interact with each other and influence family well-being, as family well-being in turn influences individual well-being. Family well-being is distinct and requires its own measurement and evaluation.

To do this, the Index will consider several questions to indicate both subjective and objective elements of well-being:

CARE
Is my family physically, mentally and spiritually well? How are we resilient? How does my family give and receive care?

ECONOMY
Can my family afford the things we need? How does work affect our family life? Can my family optimize its well-being through learning?

ENVIRONMENT
Where does my family live? Is my family mindful/aware/accountable living a sustainable way of life? How is my family safe?

CULTURE
How does my family spend time together? What are my family’s values and traditions, and how do we maintain them? How do we interact with culture and spend our leisure time? How does my family connect with others?