Canadians’ Well-Being in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic


Canadians’ Well-Being in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic

3 years ago 3 years ago Published by
This report was published by Statistics Canada & The Vanier Institute of the Family.


Since mid-March 2020, Canada has faced profound economic and social impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For obvious reasons, much attention has been placed on the immediate health effects of the pandemic and the state of the economy. However, many other aspects of the quality of life, or wellbeing, of Canadians have also received significant attention.

This report brings together diverse findings that illuminate changes in quality of life since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides valuable insights through examining these results through a well-being lens. Several widely used frameworks exist to describe the dimensions of wellbeing, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Framework for Measuring Well-Being and Progress. As with other well-being frameworks, the OECD model divides well-being into interrelated economic, social, and environmental dimensions, and underscores that both levels and inequalities in these domains influence the wellbeing of a society.

This paper describes how selected aspects of wellbeing have been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic period (at least until the date of this publication release) focusing on the following areas, which have been drawn from the OECD framework:

  • Income and wealth: What do the data say about the current financial challenges faced by Canadians?
  • Knowledge and skills: What are some of the experiences associated with accessing education, particularly with the move to increased online education?
  • Work–life balance: How are families in Canada faring, especially with respect to managing work and child care responsibilities?
  • Health: What have been the impacts of the pandemic on mental health, and how have these outcomes highlighted diversity of experience?
  • Environment: How are Canadians turning to their local environments and parks as restrictions to mobility are in place?

While other questions could, of course, be studied, those above were chosen because they represent a variety of domains as well as areas where there have been recent data collections in Canada. Future research could delve more deeply into the domains explored here or extend to the several other domains not covered.

This paper concludes by reflecting on the importance of the connections – within and between work, family, technology, and the environment – as a source of resilience during the pandemic. While the sampling of variables in this paper is intended to provide a demonstration of the strengths and vulnerabilities of individuals and families in Canada in a coronavirus-impacted world, it also illuminates the importance of connections between these individuals and their families and the social, economic, and natural capital available to them in this period of pandemic.

Charnock, S., Heisz, A., Kaddatz, J., Spinks, N., & Mann, R. (2021). Canadians’ Well-Being in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Statistics Canada & The Vanier Institute of the Family.

Filed under:

Categorised in: