Gatineau’s doing well!
This spring, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (an Ottawa research think-tank) released its annual ranking of the best and worst Canadian cities. Gatineau scores very well. Overall, Gatineau scores above Quebec City, Montreal, Edmonton, Regina, Halifax, Calgary, Winnipeg and London, Ontario. Of the 26 cities evaluated, our city ranks 10th, with only Sherbrooke from Quebec higher (sixth).
Scoring is based on multiple criteria, most with a gender gap component. The concept being that without gender equality, there is no real quality-of-life for each city’s entire population. “Entire” means over 50% female.
One of the most influential is economics (finding and keeping employment, job quality, income, and general rates of poverty. Poverty rates for women are highest in Vancouver and Toronto, whereas Quebec City has half their rate – and Gatineau stood at the very head of the class. Our city is the best place in Canada for working women, statistically speaking. Ottawa comes third. Gatineau has more women with paid employment than men, period. And we have the best (smallest) male/female wage gap.
One element here is Quebec’s progressive family policies – good daycare services and low child care fees.
Another criterion is political leadership and decision-making, on all levels. Women have increased their leadership levels, although the higher, the more unequal the proportions. This includes business leadership and the self-employed. In municipal leadership, Gatineau ranks 9th of 26 – well ahead of Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, and Calgary – but behind, in Quebec, Sherbrooke, Montreal and Quebec City.
On average, one-third of Canadian municipal elected officials are female, but in self-employment, especially with paid employees, women only reach 27-28%. In holding down a job of any sort, women are more successful in Gatineau than men.
Gatineau’s negatives come with crime and personal safety. Quebec cities have much less crime reported than elsewhere in Canada, but Gatineau scores poorly on domestic violence, and violence toward women, despite our culture of non-reporting. This is improving, the authors note.
In health, Gatineau is also well below average. CISSSO please note! This includes life expectancy, stress levels, self-evaluated health, gender gaps in stress, sickness days and cancer statistics. Elsewhere, we learn Outaouais’ rates of nicotine and alcohol addiction, and obesity, are of concern. Curiously, all Quebec cities are “stressful”, with Gatineau scoring low on the difference in male or female sufferers of stress of all types. Why is life more stressful in Quebec – especially when life here is generally above the national norm?
In education attainments, Gatineau ranks above average, but weak in the STEM (scientific) fields. This is one area in which Ottawa outranks Gatineau. The study did not separate linguistic groups or cultural backgrounds in its measurements.
All in all, Gatineau is doing well in quality-of-life criteria, and this for a relatively new city, one closely tied to rural areas and overshadowed, occasionally, by its big neighbour.
So, folks, a little applause for our Gatineau!