Public Release: 

Symposium: Inspiring ideas for happier communities

Experts present new rankings on life satisfaction in Canada, a Danish case study and tools for boosting community happiness

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

On April 21, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) presents a symposium on measuring and improving upon quality of life. From evidence to action: inspiring ideas for happier communities will feature new Statistics Canada data comparing life satisfaction across Canadian communities and insights from experts at home and abroad on how to foster happiness in our workplaces, neighbourhoods and cities.

A new movement in economics is showing evidence that the traditional economic measures such as GDP are not the only important indicators of progress in society. We can measure happiness and create policy that helps to support a high quality of life for citizens. Quality of life measures have gained international support with a United Nations resolution in 2011, two World Happiness Reports and a third due for release April 23, and several other important steps forward.

Experts at the event will present on new cross-Canada happiness data, case studies from abroad and concrete steps we can take to increase happiness.

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark, will present lessons from Denmark, looking closely at a town that has made happiness a top priority. CIFAR Associate Fellow Grant Schellenberg of Statistics Canada will then present the first comparison of life satisfaction across Canadian communities, exploring where Canadians are happiest. CIFAR Senior Fellow John Helliwell, co-author of World Happiness Report 2015 to be released April 23, 2015, will present on the tools we can implement in our neighbourhoods and workplaces to boost happiness and social connections.

"We want to share the latest insights from research on happiness with community leaders who are best able to use them, enabling them to make their communities happier and healthier places," says Rebecca Finlay, CIFAR's vice-president of communications and knowledge outreach.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Museum of Vancouver, B.C.

Community organizer, social entrepreneur and author Al Etmanski will moderate.

To obtain a media pass or arrange interviews with any of the speakers, please contact Lindsay Jolivet, CIFAR Writer & Media Relations Specialist at 416-971-4876 or Please reserve your pass.

Can't make the event? Register for the live the webcast at:

Presented in partnership with the Museum of Vancouver, the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation and BC Partners for Social Impact, the symposium is part of a national dialogue series on social innovation entitled Change Makers: Catalyzing Innovative Ideas for Social Challenges. The series brings together researchers, practitioners and community leaders to tackle our toughest social challenges and generate fresh thinking that will improve lives.



CIFAR creates knowledge that is transforming our world. Established in 1982, the Institute brings together interdisciplinary groups of extraordinary researchers from around the globe to address questions and challenges of importance to the world. Our networks help support the growth of research leaders and are catalysts for change in business, government and society. CIFAR is generously supported by the governments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, Canadian and international partners, as well as individuals, foundations and corporations.

About the Museum of Vancouver

The Museum of Vancouver connects Vancouverites to each other and connects Vancouver to the world. The museum, an enthusiastic advocate for the city, is a gathering place that fosters social engagement and inspires conversation about the future. The Museum of Vancouver is an independent non-profit organization that depends on support from the community.

About B.C. Partners for Social Impact

The BC Partners for Social Impact is a diverse network that leads social innovation in BC. The partnership includes leaders in government, non-profit organizations, businesses, universities and community groups, all working collaboratively to improve social outcomes for British Columbians. To learn more about the BC Partners for Social Impact and social innovation in BC, visit

Supported by RBC Foundation

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