Protesters chant and raise fists during an anti-racism march on June 6, 2020 in Toronto.(Cole Burston/Getty Images)
For the sixth consecutive year, Canada has ranked first in the U.S. News & World Report’s Quality of Life ranking. Topping this list is an accomplishment in any year, and for Canada to do so in a year of pandemic is no small feat.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put living standards and quality of life under threat around the world. If Canada has succeeded in maintaining a high quality of life, it is due in large part to the heroic efforts of the people of this country. Every day, in big and small ways, Canadians were challenged to demonstrate what we were willing to do to protect life and to preserve its dignity, and we rose to this challenge by showing up for each other, even in the darkest moments of the pandemic.
In 2020, we were reminded that governments still play an important role in preserving and maintaining quality of life for people in their countries. Without immediate and profound government intervention, the quality of life for many Canadians would have been severely threatened last year. Government was the first place that many turned to for protection and solutions when the pandemic hit, and the bond between people and government has grown, along with our expectations for government action.
We also learned that quality of life is not just something governments provide, but something communities help to create for themselves. Overnight, and without government involvement, community projects spontaneously sprung up: community fridges to help meet the needs of those experiencing food insecurity, medication and grocery deliveries to neighbors who could not shop for themselves, and countless volunteers and workers who risked their health every day to provide essential services to others.
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to reconsider the true meaning of a high quality of life. We can see clearly now that the metrics that are often used to measure quality of life – safety, economic and political stability, a good job market, and well-developed public education and health systems – do not tell the whole story, and that