Canada ranks 7th in happiness report; Norway tops the list
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 5:26PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 20, 2017 7:21PM EDT
Canadians are apparently happier than Americans but we are not as happy as we were last year.
The World Happiness report released today shows Canada sitting at 7th in the world.
Of the 155 countries, Norway topped the list as the happiest place on earth, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. The United States slipped to 14th. On the surface, this seems like a pretty light subject.
But there is a real science behind gauging happiness; the happier the society, the more successful it is as a whole.
Good health, good education, good income are all reasons why Norway sits at top spot in the World Happiness Report.
“It's a very boring answer,” says one Norwegian man, “but bureaucrats are the secret to our happiness.”
Norway's Ambassador to Canada sees many commonalities between our two countries, especially when it comes to work-life balance.
“It sends a signal that managing resources, protection of environment as well as creating economic opportunities are a good balance,” says Anne Kari Ovind. She admits the race to top spot was a tight one but believes a good public sector, a health system that works and a high degree of equality are key factors to Norway’s success.
So, how happy are Canadians? Well, it seems the Happy Goat Coffee Company in Ottawa may be the spot to find out.
“What makes me happy,” says manager Kyle Ratchford, “is coffee and I’m surrounded by it. There's not much better than that.”
I’m a retired guy,” says Chris Assad, a customer in the shop, “so I’m more or less happy.”
For university student Allison Wallis, working on her thesis in the coffee shop, happiness is finishing that thesis.
“I will be submitting it today,” she says, “I’ve been working on it for three years now so that's pretty happy.”
The top countries, including Canada all ranked high in caring, freedom, generosity and income. The U.S. dropped to 14, according to the report, not because of economic issues but because of inequality and trust levels.
Nora Spinks, the CEO of The Vanier Institute of the Family says governments should heed this report because it's a valuable tool to help guide policy.
“Personally, it can have a huge impact,” Spinks says, “As a society, it can really increase our capacity to move forward and grow as a country.”
Spinks says there is a lot of hard science behind this happiness index; it is not about how happy people are and how much fun they are having.
“This isn't about fun,” she says, “it's much more complex than that. It’s a complexity of well-being and health and engagement in the community and governance and freedom.”
The very issues that raised countries to the top of the scale were the reasons some ended up on the bottom, among them, Syria, Rwanda and the Central Africa Republic, which placed last.