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Canada One of the Best Places to Live in the World, According to OECD Better Life Index

May 2013, 30
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Visit to Canada
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today welcomed the news that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has reaffirmed Canada as one of the top places to live in the world.

The OECD’s 2013 Better Life Index ranks Canada third among 36 countries (34 OECD countries plus Brazil and Russia), up from sixth place last year, in an evaluation of 11 areas of well-being. The Index was released in advance of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting that starts tomorrow. Minister Fast will attend the meeting as well as the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Paris this week.

“Canadians know we live in a great country,” said Minister Fast. “For the third year in a row, the OECD has confirmed it for the rest of the world. Our government is focused on creating jobs and growth through our Economic Action Plan and our pro-trade actions and accomplishments, thereby ensuring that Canada remains the envy of citizens around the world.”

Key Findings in This Year’s Index

  • Canadians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 82 percent of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day.
  • In Canada, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is US$28,194 a year, more than the OECD average of US$23,047 a year.
  • More than 72 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Canada have a paid job, a higher rate than the OECD employment average of 66 percent.
  • People in Canada work 1,702 hours a year, less than most people in other OECD countries, who work an average of 1,776 hours.
  • In Canada, 88 percent of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, well above the OECD average of 74 percent; furthermore, 90 percent of Canadian women have completed high school.
  • The average Canadian student scored 527 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment. This score is higher than the OECD average of 497, making Canada one of the strongest OECD countries in terms of student skills.
  • Life expectancy at birth in Canada is 81 years, one year higher than the OECD average of 80 years.
  • Across Canada, the level of atmospheric PM10—tiny air-pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs—is 16 micrograms per cubic metre, considerably lower than the OECD average of 22 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • 89 percent of Canadians say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, a higher rate than the OECD average of 84 percent.
  • 94 percent of Canadians believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 90 percent.

The OECD Better Life Index is designed to let citizens visualize and compare 11 key areas that contribute to their well-being—a measurement that goes beyond assessments typically based on gross domestic product. These 11 areas are housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance. Since the Index’s inception, Canada has ranked near or at the top of each measured area, together with Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

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