‘Don’t throw it out, fill it out.’
“That is the term, the tag-line being used,” Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said, referring to Engage Nova Scotia’s Quality of Life: Measuring What Matters survey, which could land in your mailbox any day now; or maybe already has.
“It’s going to be random; 80,000 households across Nova Scotia. We don’t know who is going to get them, don’t know the ages of people,” Boucher said, adding there is a “safety net” to make sure minority groups will be included.
“The goal here is to make sure that when people receive it in their mailbox, with a number on it, they go online and fill the survey out; that they just don’t through it out.”
Boucher noted the town and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish have agreed to work with Engage to get the word out about the surveys, because of the valuable information they’ll be able to access.
“We’re very interested in getting the results,” she said. “What can we use to market our area, why are we so happy, what is good about our area, but what too are the gaps?
“Once all this information comes in, how can we work together within our region to fill in those gaps and promote what we’re doing well already. So this is information if we, as the town and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, were to get on our own, we would have to put a lot of money into it. So what we’ve done instead is come onboard to work with Engage, to the best of our ability,” she said, noting the contribution of some “human resource” towards the project.
Referencing back to the ‘why are we so happy’ question, Boucher said that comes from another study; one that sparked Engage towards this project.
“There was a study done determining that Canadians are, generally, happy; I think for quality of life we’re number one in the world right now,” she said.
“But the study did show that as you went from west to east, people became happier. So Engage Nova Scotia has taken it upon themselves to find out what it is that makes us so happy and how can we use this to the good and, at the same time, how can we find the gaps to show where we can improve on this quality of life.”
Boucher said while that study was the inspiration, Engage has “custom designed” the survey for Nova Scotia.
“And created 10 groups around the province; outreach teams in all of these places. Teams of about four or five people to get the word out.”
The survey is designed to be completed online but paper copies can be obtained by those randomly chosen, and there will be local folks who will be able to help the filling out. Boucher wants to ensure folks, especially seniors who are often targeted for money and identity theft scams, the surveys don’t ask for personal nor financial information.
“The survey is being led by Engage Nova Scotia with the support from Nova Scotia Community College,” a poster regarding the survey reads. “It is administered by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing at the University of Waterloo, who will ensure the privacy and confidentiality of your information.”
Boucher noted there is an incentive as well with the opportunity for those receiving the survey and filling it out to be selected for one of 25 $400 gift cards from Sobeys.
“I would like to encourage anyone who receives the survey to take the time to fill it out,” Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron said. “This survey will provide valuable feedback to the province with the end goal of improving the quality of life for all Nova Scotians.”
For more information, visit nsqualityoflife.ca.