Earlier this week, the Victoria Foundation released the fifth anniversary edition of Vital Signs®, an annual report card that provides a snapshot of the livability and well-being of life in the Capital Region. A combination of public opinion and statistics, the report is presented in an easy to read format aimed at stimulating conversation around 11 issue areas deemed critical to quality of life.
“As a report card, Vital Signs® has steadily proven its value to the community since 2006,” says Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “Its importance was especially elevated during the economic challenges of recent years, as the findings enabled donors to make informed decisions and direct their support where it was needed most.”
According to this year’s report, we’re satisfied with our lives, support our United Way and are big on culture – whether it’s learning from those who come from other cultures, providing cultural attractions for tourists or supporting the film industry here in Greater Victoria.
On the downside, we’re very concerned with an increase in MRI wait times and the difficulties families face in making ends meet in the Capital Region. Although progress is being made, too many people are on our social housing waitlists, and we continue to be concerned with the increase in deaths from drug use. Reducing greenhouse gases from private vehicles also tops our list of things we need to do better.
For the second year in a row, the report includes a glimpse into the lives of Greater Victoria’s Youth – a section made possible by funding from the TELUS Victoria Community Board. Hundreds of youth responded to an online grading survey and provided comments about what is important to them in our community.
Youth graders identified the top five areas in most need of attention in Victoria as:Youth Housing and Homelessness, Poverty: Rich vs. Poor, Work, Getting Around: Transportation, Work and Hanging Out: Youth Spaces.
“The insight that Vital Signs® provides helps toguide community level decision-making and investment from many different sources,” says Steve McKerrell, Chair of the Victoria Foundation Board of Directors. “If the indicators we measure influence positive change in our community, then we’re definitely headed in the right direction.”
A new feature of this year’s report is the level of sponsorship by local businesses. Island Savings Credit Union has signed on as the report’s Signature sponsor. Credit Union President and CEO Rod Dewar says, “Island Savings is proud to present the Victoria Foundation’s Vital Signs® report through our GIFT community investment program.”
“Our 5-year partnership is designed to help promote Vital Signs®, an important resource for community organizations,” adds Dewar. “In turn, we believe our contribution and partnership with the Foundation will create positive and lasting change in our Island communities.”
The Vital Signs® report is part of a nation-wide initiative, coordinated by Community Foundations of Canada. A total of 15 community foundations across Canada also released local Vital Signs® report cards this week.
The report, as well as an expanded version with additional indicators and full source information and links, is available here.
by Val Green, Executive Director
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