Do you live in one of Canada’s unhappiest places? Globally, Canada is considered a pretty happy place. In 2018, the country finished seventh out of 156 countries on the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network World Happiness Report.
However, not every region of this vast country has gotten an equal share of that happiness issues such as living standards, work/life balance, concern about climate change and difficulty finding fulfilling work have led residents in some regions to report lower quality of life.
Using Statistics Canada and other data on life satisfaction, let’s take a look at the most unhappy places in Canada.
The unhappiest Places In Canada 2019
10. Interlake Region, M.B
The Interlake region is a rural region “nestled between Lake Manitoba on the west and Lake Winnipeg on the east,” known for its beaches and provincial parks. However, life isn’t all that easy for year-round residents, who face threats from flooding and wildfires and a persistent shortage of public service providers, including doctors and paramedics. Interlake residents rated their life satisfaction between 7.9 and 8.
9. Fredericton-Oromocto, N.B
New Brunswick’s provincial capital made headlines in 2014 for an “absolutely shocking” poverty problem, with parents forced to send their children to school hungry. At the time, a Fredericton city councillor blamed cutbacks in the province’s transfer payments to cities.
In the upcoming provincial election, politicians are calling for initiatives to create better jobs and reduce the brain drain in the area. The Fredericton area is the least happy region in New Brunswick, with an average life satisfaction rating of around 7.9.
8. North Shore region, N.S
Like people in southern Nova Scotia, Nova Scotians on the North Shore is struggling with the economic uncertainty linked to the decline of the fishing industry and an ageing population, out-migration, the reduction of manufacturing industries, and other difficulties common to rural areas communities.
“Most rural (Nova Scotia) economies are in a state of stagnation or decline,” according to a feature in Atlantic Business Magazine. As well, North Shore residents reported average life satisfaction of just under 8.
7. Outaouais-region, Q.C
According to Statistics Canada, the Outaouais-Laurentides region in southwestern Quebec posted an average life satisfaction rating of just under 8. The area’s largest city is Gatineau.
A more recent, city-focused quality of life report by the Conference Board of Canada found that the city scored “middle of the pack” on several health indicators, including perceived health and perceived mental health.
6. Southern Region, N.S
According to the online travel magazine Culture Trip, southern Nova Scotia is home to some of the “most beautiful towns in all of Canada”—but how does that beauty translate into quality of life for residents? A recent Conference Board of Canada report identified the province’s economy as “one of the worst in the country.”
An ageing population and continuing uncertainty about oil exploration, climate change, and the fishing industry’s recovery are causing concern for residents. The average self-reported life satisfaction for residents of the southern region of Nova Scotia was just under 8.
5. Ottawa, O.N
“This community needs work,” a first-time voter in Ottawa South told CBC News during the recent Ontario election campaign. In the article, voters identify rising crime and deteriorating relations between police and the communities they serve as critical problems.
Poor road conditions and the rising cost of gas and electricity were also on voters’ minds. Average life satisfaction among Ottawa residents is just under 8, according to the Statistics Canada data.
4. Saskatoon-Biggar, S.K
Saskatoon residents reported average life satisfaction between 7.9 and 8.0. According to the City of Saskatoon’s own 2017 data, 87 percent of residents rated city quality of life as good or very good, but some persistent problems were identified.
Saskatoon residents identified roads and infrastructure and crime and policing as the biggest challenges facing the area. “A marginalized population and the city’s rapid population growth contribute to crime challenges,” city officials wrote.
3. Stratford-Bruce Peninsula, O.N
The Stratford region, southwest of Toronto, received an average life satisfaction rating of just over 8. A report produced by a local think tank, the Centre for Digital Entrepreneurship and Economic Performance, says the area has been struggling with “out-migration of working-age people,”
more commonly known as brain drain; the think tank identified poor public transit and poor promotion as problems preventing people from finding jobs and settling in the region.
2. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, O.N
The average self-reported life satisfaction rating of Kitchener-Waterloo residents was around 8. The area has struggled with the rise of opioid abuse and an “uptick of reported racism and racist graffiti” in recent years, as well as what the Waterloo Region Record calls “a prevalence of rodent problems.”
1. Moncton-Richibucto, N.B
According to the Statistics Canada General Social Survey data (from 2013), Moncton residents had a self-reported average life satisfaction of just under 8. In 2016, New Brunswick as a whole was the subject of a Maclean’s piece called “Can anything save New Brunswick?” “The province’s economy is in free fall; it has more deaths than births and an ugly language war to rival Quebec’s,” author Martin Patriquin wrote.
New Brunswick has struggled with the closure of critical industries and out-migration of younger residents. However, employment in homes for the elderly is a key growth industry, according to the story.