Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and responses about the Saskatchewan Index of Wellbeing (SIW). The FAQ will be updated regularly as the project unfolds over the upcoming months and years.

The Saskatchewan Index of Wellbeing and Saskatchewan Wellness Exchange Network

  1. What is the Saskatchewan Index of Wellbeing?

The Saskatchewan Index of Wellbeing (SIW) is a tool that measures what matters most to Saskatchewan people over time. The SIW tracks Saskatchewan’s progress based on eight inter-connected themes (domains) that will provide community-based organizations, businesses, orders of government, and citizens alike about how well we are doing as a province. The information collected and reported will help to shape policies, decisions, and actions at the provincial, regional, and local scale.

The eight domains that make up the SIW include: Living Standards; Education; Leisure and Culture; Time Use; Community Vitality; Democratic Engagement; Environment; and, Healthy Populations.

  1. Where did this idea come from?

The SIW is based on the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) – a Canadian-made innovation that was developed in 2011. The CIW’s mission is to report on wellbeing at the national level and promote discussions based on the eight domains and how to improve wellbeing through policies that respond to the needs and values of Canadians. The first province index of wellbeing is Ontario Index of Wellbeing. Moving forward, the SIW builds on this framework.

  1. Why is this important? Particularly to me, my organization, and as a province?

The SIW will ensure everyone is able to draw from baseline information from reliable sources when making decisions, creating policies, and/or creating actions that matter.

A project of this scale and nature will be one of the first for our province. By generating research-based evidence specific to Saskatchewan on the eight key domain areas, we are able to develop a more complete picture of our province’s wellbeing. Your organization across the province may collect have specific data and measurements; the SIW will complement and validate this existing data.

  1. What are the main objectives of the SIW project overall?

The final SIW report will focus on three principal objectives:

  • It will describe how the quality of life for Saskatchewan people has shifted over time. It will ask a simple question: “How are Saskatchewan people really doing?” both overall and within each domain. This will provide people with baseline information on each domain and opens future opportunities to compare it with Canada and other provinces where possible;
  • It encourages policy makers and government leaders to make decisions based on solid and compelling evidence; and,
  • It empowers Saskatchewan leaders, organizations, orders of government, and citizens to advocate for change that responds to their needs and values collectively by asking: “How can we do better?”
  1. Can you provide an example of how I might apply this framework in the work that I do?

An example is from the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC). They have promoted the use of the CIW in their “Shift the Conversation” project which looks at broad factors of health, the need to look at upstream interventions, and the need to encourage meaningful engagement from community members.[1] Another example is from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. They have utilized the CIW by basing their six action areas on 12 of the CIW’s measurement indicators.[2]

And, likewise we can see how organizations in Saskatchewan can utilize this data in their everyday work.

  1. Would you define “wellbeing” and “health” as the same? [Adapted from the CIW Frequently Asked Questions]

The CIW defines wellbeing as: “the presence of the highest possible quality of life in its full breadth of expression. This includes: good living standards, robust health, a sustainable environment, vital communities, an educated populace, balanced time use, high levels of democratic participation, and access to and participation in leisure and culture. It’s a much broad definition than just health.” [3]

  1. How does this compare to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? [Adapted from the CIW Frequently Asked Questions]

The GDP is a well-known, widely-used tool that measures economic consumption. The CIW and SIW complement the GDP – they are tools “that provides a fuller picture of quality of life in all of its many dimensions; a tool that shows where we’re making progress, where we’re falling behind and why, and how we can catch up.” [4]

The Domains and Indicators

  1. Where did the list of domains and indicators originate from? Are these going to be changed over the process?

The eight key domains and eight headline indicators were developed during the CIW process. The indicators were originally developed based on research and vetting by experts in their field coupled with rounds of public consultation. The result has been eight domains and 64 indicators (eight for each domain) that have been identified.

  1. What are the definitions of each of the eight domains?

The domains are currently defined by the CIW. These definitions may and will likely change based on the engagement phase of the SIW project.

  • Community Vitality: Measures the strength, activity, and inclusiveness of relationships between residents, private sector, public sector, and civil society organizations that fosters individual and collective wellbeing.
  • Democratic Engagement: Measures the participation of citizens in public life and in governance; the functioning of Canadian governments; and the role Canadians and their institutions play as global citizens.
  • Education: Measures the literacy and skill levels of the population, including the ability of both children and adults to function in various societal contexts and plan for and adapt to future situations.
  • Environment: Measures the state of and the trends in Canada’s environment by looking at the stocks and flows of Canada’s environmental goods and services.
  • Healthy Populations: Measures the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the population by looking at different aspects of health status and certain determinants of health.
  • Leisure and Culture: Measures activity in the very broad area of culture, which involves all forms of human expression; the more focused area of the arts; and recreational activities.
  • Living Standards: Measures the level and distribution of income and wealth, including trends in poverty; income volatility; and economic security, including the security of jobs, food, housing and the social safety net.
  • Time Use: Measures the use of time, how people experience time, what controls its use, and how it affects wellbeing.


  1. Will other domains and indicators be discussed in this process?

Currently, the focus is on obtaining data based on the CIW domains and indicators. Through the community visits that will be done through this process, more specific headline indicators may be identified that are relevant to the Saskatchewan context. There will be a number of “cross-cutting” themes that will cover a number of domains and indicators.

A “cross cutting” theme is information collected on a number of indicators that will cover more than one domain and indicator – these include, though are not limited to gender, age, cultural background, and more as identified through the process. For more information about the data collected during the community visits, please refer to question 14.

The Data/Information

  1. What sources of data are being gathered for each of the indicators? What are the benefits?

The data will be collected from a number of provincial, federal, and organizational sources that includes Statistics Canada, the General Society Survey, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, Canadian Community Health Survey, and many others. The benefits of the data collected are that they can be tracked over time, based on availability.

At this stage, the SIW does not collect its own primary data i.e. surveys, polling, etc. There may be opportunity in the future for the SIW to pursue the development of tools to gather information to fill gaps in data. Community engagement is intended help to gather feedback on the SIW domains and indicators. Please see the following section.

Key Partners, Collaborators, and Your Involvement

  1. Who are the key partners and collaborators involved and what do they contribute to the project?

The SIW is led by the following three organizations:

Heritage Saskatchewan is the host organization. Their role is to catalyze and lead in pulling together key community players including community-based organizations, orders of government, and civil society.

Community Initiatives Fund is the key collaborator of the project. Their role is to provide representative leadership, drawing from a cross-section of voices from community-based agencies and orders of government.


Prairie Wild Consulting Co. team members are the researchers, data collectors, facilitators, and report writers. Their role is to work closely with the collaborators and be the team “on the ground” collecting information and engaging with communities, organizations, businesses, and orders of government.


  1. What is Saskatchewan Wellbeing Exchange Network?

The Saskatchewan Wellbeing Exchange Network (SWEN) is the advisory network being developed to spark conversations and act as a facilitator between organizations, businesses, community members, and orders of government. The SWEN will help to answer two big questions: how can we work together to build the best quality of life for all Saskatchewan people and how can we track our progress toward that goal? The SWEN is open to anyone interested in being part of the process.

  1. How can I provide input, feedback, and be engaged in the process?

The collaborators will visit various regions across the province to engage a cross-section of Saskatchewan communities to help develop the SIW. Feedback will be gathered on what makes Saskatchewan a great place to live, work, and play. Key organizations, businesses, and orders of government will be connected with to explore how the SIW can support them in responding to community needs.

There are a number of ways to become involved in the SIW process. Everyone is welcome to join the Saskatchewan Wellbeing Exchange Network. You may also be interested in becoming a ‘local champion’ by hosting an event in your community to learn more about the SIW and how you can apply it to your community, or volunteering in any other capacity.

Please be sure to stay connected with the SIW. You may contact us through any of the following channels:

@SaskWellbeing 306.281.9162
Saskatchewan Index of Wellbeing    





[4] Ibid