At Engage Nova Scotia we believe that if we treasure it, we should measure it. And that’s particularly true when it comes to quality of life.

That’s why we are advancing a Nova Scotia Quality of Life initiative – built on the Canadian Index of Wellbeing framework, starting with a Quality of Life Index report, released in June 2018, and a Quality of Life Survey, launched in April 2019. It will examine a wide range of topics that matter to Nova Scotians and compare them to national results, so they can be measured, tracked and improved.

These topics are clustered in eight “domains” – healthy populations, living standards, education, environment, community vitality, time use, democratic engagement, and leisure and culture.

Canadian Index of Wellbeing graphicTraditionally, much of the information used to make decisions that affect our daily lives have been based on economic data. Those data are not wrong – they are just incomplete. With this initiative, we are working to advance a comprehensive framework for measuring and improving the daily lives of our people.

Perhaps we will find that “we are richer than we think”. Undoubtedly, we will find room for improvement, especially for marginalized communities of people. We hope it helps open a new chapter for our province and puts Nova Scotia at the forefront of jurisdictions that measure and seek to improve the quality of life of their citizens.

The initiative will not provide the definitive word on how to assess progress in any of the eight domains and is intended as a starting point for important conversations about what we value. We want to know what data can enhance this analysis; what information and research best reflects the experiences and priorities of Nova Scotians.

We do not see ourselves as the sole holders of this initiative. We have begun the long-term work of engaging and building collaborative networks amongst governments, educators, businesses, community organizations and the general public.

Our initiative builds on the pioneering work of GPI Atlantic in Nova Scotia, who was amongst the first to recognize the need for a more comprehensive measure of success. That imperative is one that is now echoed by global organizations like the United Nations, OECD and the International Monetary Fund. We think that the time is right for us to reinvigorate our commitment to research and to bring together a wider coalition of partners to ensure efforts like that of GPI are sustained.

The release of the 2018 Index was just a first step, and the 2019 Survey, another. It is intended to spark your imagination, foster serious conversations, prompt new collaborations. Further steps will require our partners and us to work with the public, drive further research and build support for this amongst Nova Scotians.

This is about more than just the data. It is about who we are as a people. Let’s start a new conversation.

To learn more about the Nova Scotia Quality of Life Initiative, please visit