'Misery Index' ranks Atlantic provinces as best, Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta as worst during pandemic

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has created a Provincial Covid Misery Index that measures the burden that the pandemic has placed on Canadians.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) has created a Provincial COVID Misery Index that measures the burden that the pandemic has placed on Canadians.

Three broad categories are used by the MLI to rank the Canadian provinces, which is split into Disease Misery, Response Misery, and Economic Misery.

In all three categories, Atlantic provinces came out on top, which the MLI points to geographic location as playing a big part in its success.

"The Provincial COVID Misery Index results show the significant role played by geography in pandemic management. The struggles of larger provinces mirror the experience of larger, more populous, more connected countries in our global comparison, with smaller, more easily isolated countries faring better," states LMI. "This shows that at this stage in the pandemic, a 'lockdown to zero' strategy advocated by some health experts is all but certainly futile."

"Disease Misery is an aggregate score that includes average cases per 100,000, COVID deaths per 100,000, and relative excess mortality," states the index. Disease Misery is the highest in Quebec.

The province suffered from high case numbers, deaths, and excess deaths, which only just recently started to wane slightly. In Ontario and Quebec, long-term care residents faced severe conditions, with MLI Senior Fellow Dr. Shawn Whatley writing "COVID-19 has poked the final hole in long-term care’s already leaky boat."

Ranked the best in Disease Misery is Prince Edward Island.

PEI was also ranked the best in Response Misery, which "measures the aggregate score based on the number of tests per case of COVID-19, the per capita vaccination rate, and the stringency of lockdown measures and public health restrictions (the assumption being that more stringency equates to a higher degree of misery)," the index states.

Ranked the worst is Ontario, with its strict lockdowns bringing seemingly endless stay-at-home orders, closing businesses, and children stuck at home. Toronto was the most locked down jurisdiction in North America.

New Brunswick fared the best in Economic Misery, which "is an aggregate score based on GDP change in 2020 and 2021 (forecast), unemployment change in 2020 and 2021 (forecast), and net public debt change in 2020," states the index. It managed to keep the increase in unemployment to a minimum, and avert a major blow to GDP in 2020.

Alberta was ranked the worst in Economic Misery, suffering a major blow to both unemployment and GDP.

MLI senior fellow Richard Audas pointed out that "Interestingly, four of Canada’s wealthier provinces have experienced the worst misery."


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