A “misery index” suggests that overall well-being in Canada has suffered more than average in pandemic, ranking 11th out of 15 countries on a scale of miserableness.
Overall, Canada ranked higher than other countries in terms of curbing the virus itself, but was among the worst on the question of economic impact and pandemic response, placing 13th and 14th, respectively. It placed 6th out of 15 countries in containing the virus.
The findings point to the immense challenge facing governments in their pandemic responses as they seek to strike a balance between civil liberties, the costs of massive support programs and the risk of uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. The Liberal government avoided the early spikes in mortality rates that befell some countries, but has also assumed more new debt per capita than any other developed nations as it continues to dole out generous pandemic relief benefits.
“While Canada was spared the worst ravages of the disease, our response to it has brought significant misery, largely attributable to quite strong restrictions in behaviour and a lagging vaccination program,” the report said. “The economic misery has been severe, and the projections are that Canadian taxpayers will be paying this bill for some time to come.”
Norway had the best ranking on the misery index overall, followed by New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. Canada placed 11th, followed by Italy, France, the U.K., and finally Spain. The U.S. ranked 9th.
High unemployment and public borrowing levels in particular made Canada “significantly worse than average, indicating an inefficient, costly response,” according to MLI. Misery tied to unemployment in Canada was determined to be 97 on a scale of 100, compared with a global average of 45. Among the other worst indicators was the projected assumption of new government debt (96, compared with an average of 48), and vaccination rollout (70, compared with 52).