First report on the Community Wellbeing Survey now online

Issued by Oxford County, July 13, 2016

County Council receives first report on Community Wellbeing Survey
More than three quarters of Oxford residents feel satisfied with their community as a place to live, the environmental quality of their community, and their mental wellbeing

Oxford County Council received a preliminary report today that shared data results from the Canadian Index of Wellbeing Community Wellbeing Survey completed by a random sample of Oxford County residents in April and May.

Oxford County Community Wellbeing Survey: A Profile of the Wellbeing of Oxford County Residents, presented to Council by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) and Community Oxford, suggests that more than three quarters of Oxford residents feel satisfied with their community as a place to live, the environmental quality of their community, and their mental wellbeing.

Residents’ level of satisfaction was lowest for local government responsiveness to community needs, sense of belonging to the community, and access to arts, culture and educational opportunities.

Questions in the survey were divided into sections corresponding with the CIW’s framework of eight domains of wellbeing: community vitality, healthy populations, democratic engagement, environment, leisure and culture, education, living standards, and time use. Highlights from each area include:

  • Community vitality: More than half of Oxford residents offered their time for volunteer activities in the past year.
  • Healthy populations: About four in ten Oxford residents rate the overall quality of health care services in their community as very good or excellent, although access to health care services was not rated as highly.
  • Democratic engagement: About six in ten Oxford residents expressed “a lot” of interest in federal, provincial and local politics. However, fewer than 10% attended a municipal council meeting, wrote a letter to the editor about a local issue, or attended a public demonstration or protest during the past 12 months.
  • Environment: Almost 90% of Oxford residents agree that they have a personal responsibility to help protect the natural environment and about the same percentage recycle materials quite often or all of the time. About one-half of residents participated in local events to help protect the environment.
  • Leisure and culture: The County’s most-used recreation and cultural facilities over the past year are local parks, playgrounds and/or trails, and public libraries– opportunities provided without user fees to residents.
  • Education: About half of Oxford’s residents agree that there are plenty of opportunities and places nearby to take courses for interest, although access to formal education courses or opportunities to upgrade educational qualifications were not rated as highly.
  • Living standards: Fewer than 7% of Oxford residents reported being unable to pay the mortgage or rent on time once or more frequently in the past year, but almost 22% in the same timeframe had difficulty paying for shelter-related costs such as water or hydro. Between one half and two-thirds of Oxford residents who work for pay feel that their current occupational position adequately reflects their education and training, opportunities at work, and salary. About one-fifth of residents in Oxford County working for pay have two or more paid jobs.
  • Time use: With respect to time adequacy, about six in ten Oxford residents reported always having enough time for family to be together, to form and sustain serious relationships, and to socialize, although having enough time to participate in or be active in the community was seen as less available.

The preliminary survey report also contains a demographic profile of Oxford County residents, charts to highlight responses tied to the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan, and unedited comments provided by survey participants.

The next step in the survey process will be the development of a second report by the CIW for County Council in September 2016. That report will contain further analysis, as well as implications for next steps to act on the survey results through Oxford’s community sustainability work.

The full preliminary report and appendix of participant comments can be read online on the Oxford County website at Speak Up, Oxford!

The CIW Community Wellbeing Survey was funded by Oxford County, Woodstock and Area Community Health Care, Community Employment Services, United Way Oxford, and Rural Ontario Institute’s Measuring Rural Community Vitality Initiative.


The CIW Community Wellbeing Survey in Oxford County, administered by the University of Waterloo, is helping to fulfill the “Community” goals of the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan by establishing a baseline understanding of quality of life in Oxford County today. Just over 11,335 randomly selected households, about 25% of all County households, received an invitation to take part in the survey in spring 2016.

The Future Oxford: A Community Sustainability Plan sets out the community’s vision for how we will manage community, environmental and economic resources for Oxford County’s future growth and wellbeing. The Plan sets out 70 distinct actions to improve quality of life for Oxford's current and future generations. For more information and to read the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan online visit

Community Oxford, a sub-committee of Future Oxford, is focused on the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan goals to create community that is accessible, knowledgeable and creative.

Based at the University of Waterloo, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) is a national initiative supported by an independent, non-partisan group of national and international leaders, researchers, organizations, and grassroots citizens who are conducting research and mobilising knowledge leading to enhanced wellbeing outcomes for all Canadians.

More info

Read Council report CAO 2016-08

Read the news release on the Oxford County website