Canada is a great country in which to live – just not always when you are a kid

unicef canada

UNICEF Canada’s One Youth today launches the Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-being, a new tool to track progress on children rights and well-being and guide action to address the greatest challenges faced by kids in Canada.

The Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-being is a tool that will help us better understand what life is like for Canada’s kids. We know from UNICEF’s Report Cards that Canada ranks 25 among the world’s 41 richest countries in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If we want to do better for children in Canada, we need to do things differently. That starts with better understanding the state of Canada’s children,” said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.

Built with children and youth, the Index is a work in progress.

It brings together existing and new data to start conversations and support action:

  • Do children feel like they belong? Only one in three 11- to 15-year-olds says they have supportive relationships in their family. Only one in three says they have supportive relationships with their teachers. Why does it matter? It matters because feeling supported by and connected to family, friends, teachers, people in the community and, for some, their pets, contributes to a sense of belonging. And also to many aspects of well-being including health, learning and protection.
  • Are children free to playOnly 20% of 5- to 11-year olds engage in active play and unstructured leisure activities for more than two hours a day. Yet play and leisure are critical to development and influence every aspect of well-being.
  • Are children connected to their environmentLiving in a sustainable environment is a critical aspect of child and youth well-being. Young people are also committed to being good stewards of the environment and should be included in decisions affecting it.

The index covers nine interrelated dimensions of children’s lives with 125 indicators.

Forty-three of the indicators measure progress to achieve targets for the Sustainable Development Goals that Canada has committed to achieve by 2030.

 The Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-being is opening up new insights about what shapes the well-being of children and youth in Canada. It is bringing people together to work together, find solutions and move forward so that every Canadian child can have a good childhood, added Morley.

The development of the index is a multi-stage process. UNICEF Canada’s One Youth wants to know what Canadians think about the issues raised in the Index and is inviting all Canadians to submit ideas to improve the way we think about and measure children’s rights and well-being.

The first, baseline report of the Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-being will be released in 2019 with full data and analysis, and new tools to help turn data into action.



UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit