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Quality Of Life Index Report Summary

Major changes are taking place in Ontario which are having dramatic effects on the health and well-being of residents. They include:

- economic re-structuring and high unemployment

- government cuts in social programs

- devolution of responsibilities to the provinces and municipalities

- reduced roles of governments in economic and social development

- increasing poverty, especially for young families

The Quality of Life Index was conceived in this environment as a community development strategy to monitor the living and working conditions of Ontarians.

Quality of life is defined as:

"The product of the interplay among social, health, economic and environmental conditions which affect human and social development."

The purpose of the Quality of Life Index (QLI) is to provide a tool for community development which can be used to monitor key indicators that encompass the social, health, environmental and economic dimensions of the quality of life. The QLI can be used to comment frequently on key issues that affect people and contribute to the public debate about how to improve the quality of life in our communities and our province.

The following indicators are included in the Quality of Life Index for 1997:

SOCIAL: Children in care of Children's Aid Societies; social assistance recipients; social housing waiting lists.

HEALTH: Low birth weight babies; elderly waiting for placement in long term care facilities; suicide rates.

ECONOMIC: Number of people unemployed; number of people working; bankruptcies.

ENVIRONMENTAL: Hours of poor air quality; environmental spills; tonnes diverted from landfill to blue boxes.

The Quality of Life Index has been calculated for 1997. Based on these calculations, the quality of life has declined in Ontario since 1990. A closer look at the twelve indicators reveals progress in some areas and setbacks in others. Access to information has raised a number of problems and issues which are discussed.

Quarterly updates of the Quality of Life Index will be produced in the coming months, along with an annual report in the fall of 1998.

Submitted by Malcolm Shookner []