Measuring what matters

Community Featured

What does quality of life mean for you?

Tell Engage Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia Quality of Life Initiative from Engage Nova Scotia is collecting data to improve your quality of life. You just have to participate.

Over the next few days, some 80,000 Nova Scotians will find an envelope containing the invitation to participate in the survey in their mailboxes.

“We feel that it will be a really good way to collect real information about the lives of people in our communities,” says Sally O’Neill who has been working with a local task force to promote the initiative.

The survey explores topics like loneliness, discrimination, life satisfaction, work-life balance, and healthy work conditions — things that often get forgotten in considering what makes us healthy and fulfilled.

The data collected will help Engage Nova Scotia see where there are gaps. O’Neill, who is the co-ordinator of Active Pictou County says, “So for someone who works in communities, like me, I can see where those gaps are and work within my sector — which is community sports and recreation — to do what I can to fill those gaps and improve people’s quality of life.”

The Quality of Life survey is part of a first-of-its-kind initiative being led by Engage Nova Scotia. According to its website (, “If we treasure it, we should measure it.” It goes on to explain that traditionally, information used to make decisions that affect our daily lives is based on economic data. “When we asked Nova Scotians how they think we should measure success (on a scale of 1 to 10) 68 per cent said, “By growing the economy” and 81 per cent said, “By improving our quality of life.”

The Nova Scotia Quality of Life Initiative will advance a shared framework for measuring and improving the daily lives of everyday Nova Scotians.” The hope is that the survey will produce fresh perspectives and prompt action that improves the well-being of all Nova Scotians across economic, environmental, and cultural lines.

O’Neill explains, “There have been a lot of surveys going around and community consultations – especially around physical activity. Because of this, we want to make sure that people know this survey is legitimate, and that they actually do the survey. The results will be to improve people’s lives.”

O’Neill encourages everyone who receives a survey to participate. “We hope we don’t just hear from the folks who feel they have a good quality of life. I know there are lots of people who love Nova Scotia and love Pictou County and live here for lots of reasons and have a very high quality of life. But there are also folks who really need help and we want to know where we can do better.”

By participating in the survey, Engage Nova Scotia will have access to people’s perception of quality of life in Nova Scotia at the community and provincial level. According to Engage Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia is the first province in the country to undertake an exercise this substantial.

Sally O’Neill shows the Nova Scotia Quality of Life Initiative from Engage Nova Scotia. (Jardine photo)

Key Messages — Survey Specific

The Why

• By filling out the Nova Scotia Quality of Life Survey, you’ll help ensure the issues most important to the health and happiness of you, your family and your community receive better attention.

• With the results, a Quality of Life Report will get created for our unique region of the province.

• Survey results will help local leaders and organizations who want to make a difference in our community:

— Hear your voice and understand your perspective

— See the gaps where quality of life needs improvement

— Think creatively about new ways of doing things

— Better understand the full range of what is important to you

Key Messages – Overall Initiative

• A good life is about more than how the economy is doing. It’s about having people who care about you and a healthy place to live.

• This isn’t about where we are now. It’s about where we can be if we pay attention to the thing that better reflect our priorities.

• By measuring and working on the things that matter to everybody, we stand out as a place to live, work and invest.

• This is a multi-staged project.

• As Nova Scotians, we know we have challenges. But we also have the opportunity to design our own future. Knowing what we value most will help us protect what’s good and find new ways to do better.

• Go to to learn more.