quality of life ontario

Ontario is the least satisfied with life out of every Canadian province and it's getting worse

A high level of life satisfaction measures many things. It could mean good mental and physical health, financial prosperity, living in a pleasant environment, feeling cared for by your government, enjoying a sense of meaning and purpose — the list goes on.

"Quality of life (well-being) refers to the wealth and comfort of individuals, communities and society based on both material and non-material factors that are important to people's lives, such as health and social connections," states Statistics Canada.

This year, the stats agency shared results from a life satisfaction survey conducted in Q3 of 2023, using several indicators. Results varied significantly across Canada as survey participants rated their life satisfaction levels from zero to 10.

Nationally, across genders, 20.3 per cent of Canadians had a dismal life satisfaction rating between 0 and five, and it looks like things have only gotten worse with time.

quality of life ontario

Compared to Q3 of 2021, when StatCan launched the Quality of Life survey, this least satisfied group above saw an overall increase of three per cent (up from 17.3 per cent).

Just over 29 per cent had satisfaction levels of six to seven, and 50.6 per cent reported being pretty satisfied with life, leaving eights, nines and 10s on the survey. In 2021, by comparison, this statistic stood at 54.2 per cent.

Satisfaction levels dropped provincially as well. In 2021, Ontario was the least satisfied province, followed closely by Alberta, New Brunswick and B.C.

Here’s how things have changed over time:


quality of life ontarioIt might not surprise Ontarians, but the least satisfied Canadians still live in Ontario, where 23.3 per cent of residents left a rating of 0-5, and less than half were in the 8-10 rating range.

Historical data also shows a decline in satisfaction here, too.

The pool of the least satisfied residents has grown by 3.6 per cent since 2021, and the most satisfied has shrunk by 3.7 per cent.

New Brunswick

The second least satisfied province in Q3 of 2023 was New Brunswick, where 23 per cent rated their satisfaction with life between 0-5, growing the ground 4.6 per cent in two years.

Since the inception of the Quality of Life survey, New Brunswick's position has risen from the third most unsatisfied province.

Only 51.6 per cent of ratings were in the 8-10 range, down from 55.8 per cent in 2021.

British Columbia

B.C. was the third most unsatisfied province, with 21.9 per cent of ratings ranging between zero and five, up 4.3 per cent from 17.6 per cent during the same period in 2021.

A decrease was also observed in groups with higher satisfaction levels; ratings of 8-10 nosedived from 51 per cent to 45.6 per cent, and ratings of 6-7 dipped by 1.1 per cent.

Wait, what about Alberta?

Though Alberta was the second most unsatisfied province in 2021, it is no longer even in the top five.

After B.C., Nova Scotia and Manitoba are in fourth and fifth place, with 0-5 ratings of 21.3 per cent and 20.8 per cent, respectively.

Alberta's satisfaction levels haven't increased dramatically, but they're worsening much more slowly than some other provinces.

In 2021, 19.5 per cent of Albertans surveyed left a rating of 0-5 — now that number is 20.1 per cent, a slight increase of 0.6 per cent.

The happiest Canadian province

Quebec reigns supreme with the lowest proportion of unsatisfied residents.

Only 13.8 per cent gave their life a satisfaction rating between zero and five, and a whopping 61.1 per cent reported satisfaction levels of 8-10. That's 10.1 per cent above the national average.

Over the years, Quebecers have consistently reported the highest satisfaction levels in this Statistics Canada survey.

For more in-depth information, check out this interactive tool by the national statistics agency or look at regional stats here.

Lead photo by

Nathan Bai/Shutterstock

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