If Saskatoon only had 100 people, 65 of them would volunteer, 21 would be obese, 12 would live in poverty, 65 would have voted in the last federal election and 61 wouldn’t be eating enough fruit and vegetables.
The numbers are presented in a report on city statistics from the Saskatoon Community Foundation (SCF), a philanthropic group. Saskatoon’s Vital Signs covers numerous categories including poverty housing, education, safety, health, immigration, employment, the environment, and arts and culture.
“Having all this data together in one easy to read document can help us work together to develop strategies to address community issues,” said Greg Keller, chair of the Saskatoon Community Foundation (SCF) who collected the data.
Keller said Vital Signs will help governments, charitable groups and individuals focus their efforts where they are most needed or best suited.
SCF wants to collect the latest data on an annual basis to monitor trends and develop its own course of action.
“We’re going to pick our best opportunities to make change with the resources we have,” Keller said.
He pointed to examples of how different data points can be brought together to address specific issues. For example, Saskatoon had 5,355 immigrants move to the city and 72.8 per cent of all residents said they felt a strong sense of community belonging.
“So as the city grows and changes, how will we maintain that shared sense of belonging?” he said. “SCF has made many grants to community organizations that help people settle.”
Toronto was the first city to pilot the Vital Signs project in 2001. It has since spread to 53 Canadian communities and 22 around the world.
SCF amalgamated data about the city from several sources including Statistics Canada, the Food Bank, the Learning Centre and the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council.
SCF is sending a booklet of the report out to people in Saskatoon who receive newspapers in an effort to increase the number of people who see the data. They hope residents will provide feedback on the document, including what other data should be included in future reports.
“The point is not to just simply generate a paper report and that’s the end,” Keller said. “The point is to start a conversation.”