Canadians live well, but many know hard times

Two studies suggest contrasting experiences

A new OECD report finds that Canada ranks high among the organization’s 34 member countries in terms of quality of life. For instance, 87 per cent of Canadians have a high school diploma or the equivalent. More than two-thirds own the home they live in, and those homes are bigger on average, at 2.5 rooms per person, than the OECD average of 1.6 rooms. Overall, Canada “performs exceptionally well,” concludes the Paris-based group. Yet the Salvation Army has released a report that shows a remarkable number of Canadians have had to depend on charity at some point in their lives. Nearly 25 per cent of Canadians, according to the organization’s survey report called “Canada Speaks,” have had to depend on services such as food banks or other charitable groups at some point during their lives, with seven per cent reporting they had to sleep on the street or in a homeless shelter due to unavailable housing. Still, that doesn’t seem to translate into wide sympathy for the down-and-out: about 60 per cent of respondents to an Angus Reid survey conducted for the Salvation Army said money given to those living on the street would be spent on drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, 93 per cent said nobody should be homeless and housing access should be a fundamental right.

Toronto Sun