Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 22:19

By Charles Thrift, May 09, 2016

As originally posted on the IISD website, at http://www.iisd.org/blog/why-we-are-excited-about-canada-s-2016-census

A lot has been written about the 2016 census.

I've seen articles about the importance of the census data for all manner of things; the Twitterverse has exploded with selfies taken with census forms; and my Facebook feed is full of people proclaiming their support of evidence-based decision-making. In fact, Statistics Canada's census webpage crashed due to higher-than-expected traffic (it seems many Canadians were keen to fill in their forms right away. Don’t worry—I got mine in before it crashed…!). For those interested in learning more about this year's census, Statistics Canada's blog post about the 2016 census is quite good and discusses some of the changes from previous years (e.g., use of administrative data for income).

Here at IISD’s Knowledge program, we share the same census excitement described above, but for us it takes on a special significance, given our interest in the accessibility and interpretability of that data for decision making. There are some exciting things coming with this census that should (hopefully) lead to broader use by Canadians.

Our work has taught us that many in the community are very interested in using data, but don't necessarily know how to find and interpret it. It is partly for this reason that we partnered with the United Way of Winnipeg to develop our Peg project. Without good data, how can we know if our community is going in the right direction?

To improve the accessibility of this vital data regarding Winnipeg's social and environmental health, we use appealing ways of visualizing data, simple messaging and an interactive website where people can look at the data for different geographies and thematic focuses. We also maintain a smaller dataset to focus on those issues that matter most to Winnipeggers. Peg makes good use of census data to track educational attainment, people's transportation choices, the condition of housing and how many people are living on a low income. We also use census income data to see how issues in the community affect, or are affected by, income. In one way or another, the census informs most of our indicators.

Canadians' enthusiasm for completing the 2016 census has us hoping that they will share the same interest in using the results. With such a high percentage of the population completing the questionnaire, the results will be highly accurate. So, will Statistics Canada move forward in trying to make this valuable data as usable as possible, as we have focussed on doing in the Peg project, to all Canadians?

Statistics Canada has a very different mandate from Peg, but they share the objective of improving decision making via improved data/evidence. Statistics Canada "encourages the downloading and reuse of its data," but much of the data you'll find on the Statistics Canada website are in tables and reports. This is great for those of us nerds who are keen to work with the raw data, but a little less appealing to many. The website is often difficult to navigate, and it can be hard to find what you're looking for. Even so, there are a couple of interesting changes that have caught our eye: their new infographics and the Census Program Data Viewer. Both make use of data visualization to help us see patterns easily.

Infographics are helpful for quickly communicating key messages. Statistics Canada has been producing these for a couple of years now, but it will be nice to see them for the census data.

Statistics Canada is also building a new Census Program Data Viewer, which should make accessing and understanding the trends much easier. It has yet to be developed, but it should take the form of an interactive dashboard, with the ability to map, show bar charts and compare parts of the country. It sounds like it might be similar to what the U.S. Census Bureau uses or what is produced byInstantAtlas.

Statistics Canada is definitely moving in the right direction. As we strive to complete our census forms, let's not lose our enthusiasm after we click 'submit.' It's equally important for us to look at the results, in a format that we can all understand, as it is only through access to data that we can clearly see how well our country is doing, and what decision-makers need to do to improve life for us all.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 13:36

April 10-16, 2016 is National Volunteer Week. What can Peg tell us about how many Winnipeggers volunteer their time?  Peg tells us... 

  • From the newly available 2013 Statistics Canada data - 38% of Winnipeg residents reported volunteering their time, skills, and commitment to a wide range of organizations within our community.

The facts are: 

  • Though volunteerism in Winnipeg declined from 46% in 2008 to 35% in 2010, it has since climbed back up to 38%.
  • Winnipeg’s 38% was below the 2013 national rate of 44%.1

 Definitions: 

  • Volunteerism measures the percentage of Winnipeggers who reported volunteering their time within the last year.
  • This includes all persons aged 15 and over who indicated doing any activities without pay on behalf of a group or organization at least once in the 12 months preceding the survey. 

 Why is this important?

  • Volunteerism makes a significant difference in Winnipeg, providing time and expertise to allow the operation of services and programs that could not otherwise be delivered. Contributions include fundraising, organizing events, sitting on a board, teaching or mentoring, and a wide range of activities that contribute to our society.
  • Volunteerism is strongly related to the social vitality of our community, and supporting the basic needs of our vulnerable populations: most volunteer hours contribute to organizations related to sports and recreation, social services, education and research, religion, development and housing, and health.

Source of the data: 

  • Peg's data for the Volunteerism indicator is provided by Statistics Canada. The 2013 data is the most up-to-date available. 

Peg stories:

Media inquiries:

  • We’d love to connect you with someone who can tell you more about Peg, the data, or who is making a difference in the community. Please contact: Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) | (204) 958-7740 | sbath@iisd.ca

1 Turcotte, M. Statistics Canada: Volunteering and charitable giving in Canada. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-652-x/89-652-x2015001-eng.htm


Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - 16:48

On April 19th, Winnipeggers head to the polls for the third time in two years. What can Peg tell us about trends in Voter Turnout in our Municipal, Federal, and Provincial elections?   Municipal Voter Turnout 

  • Voter turnout has increased significantly over the past two elections. Turnout was 38.2% in 2006, 47.1% in 2010, and 50.2% in 2014. The highest turnout in the past twenty years was in 1992, at 58.4%.

Provincial Voter Turnout

  • Provincial voter turnout dropped from a high of 71.6% in 1999 to 59.3% in 2011, however, turnout has increased over the last two elections.*This data represents voter turnout in Winnipeg ridings only

 Federal Voter Turnout

 Why is this important?

  • Elections are the most fundamental processes of democratic engagement, and high turnouts are generally considered to be positive - voter turnouts are an indicator of the overall health of the democratic system.
  • Voter turnout varies across the population, with some groups better represented at the polls than others. Age, education, and income are three major factors that influence voter turnout. 
  • Peg data reflects only registered voters, not those eligible to vote.

 Source of the Data: 

 Peg Stories:

Media inquiries:

  • We’d love to connect you with someone who can tell you more about Peg, the data, or who is making a difference in the community. Please contact: Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) | (204) 958-7740 | sbath@iisd.ca

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 19:34

Spring is here, and with it comes the beginning of construction season. We took a look at two indicators in Peg’s Built Environment theme to get a sense of how Winnipeg’s construction industry is doing: Housing Starts and Building Permit Values. Peg tells us… Housing Starts:

  • Over a 15-year period, housing starts in Winnipeg have increased over 300% - from 970 in 2000 to 3999 in 2015.  
  • Housing starts show the number of new residential units per 10,000 residents, and is used to track changes in the health of the economy. It is a leading indicator, as changes in housing starts occur before general trends in the overall economy can be seen.
  • More facts available at: http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer/WellBeing/BuiltEnvironment/HousingStarts/

 Building Permits Value:

  • In the last 15 years, Winnipeg’s building permits value has increased 202%, however values dropped 19% from 2013 to 2015.   
  • Building Permits Value measures the total value of residential construction projects. This indicator is widely used as a leading indicator for the construction industry since the issuance of a building permit is one of the first steps in the construction process. 
  • More facts available at: http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer/WellBeing/BuiltEnvironment/BPV

Source of the Data: 

  • Peg’s data for the Housing Starts indicator provided by the City of Winnipeg. Data for Building Permits Value provided by Statistics Canada.
  • Peg creates short videos to illustrate data in a different way. For a short Peg story on green building strategies, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye3Urb7vHoc

 Media inquiries:

  • We’d love to connect you with someone who can tell you more about Peg, the data, or who is making a difference in the community. Please contact: Erica Glasier, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, United Way WInnipeg | (204) 924-6402 | eglasier@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 21:08

On Thursday, Mayor Bowman gives his second State of the City Address. We took a look at three indicators in Peg's Economy theme to see how Winnipeg is doing: Unemployment, Retail Sales, and Businesses Per Capita. Unemployment Rate:

  • Winnipeg’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate since the early 1990s.
  • The unemployment rate shows the percentage of Canadian adults (15 years of age and over) who are not working for pay, and are therefore not in a position to earn income. It is a common measure of economic well-being, and is one of the major social determinants of health.
  • More facts available at: http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer/WellBeing/Economy/UnemploymentRate/

 Retail Sales:

  • Over a five-year period, annual retail sales in Winnipeg increased 18% from $9.2 billion in 2009 to $10.9 billion in 2014. 
  • Retail sales figures track the dollar value of merchandise sold within the retail trade, and reflect consumer spending and confidence.
  • More facts available at: http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer/WellBeing/Economy/RetailSales/

Businesses Per Capita:

  • The number of businesses per capita is at its highest level since 2000, increasing from 52.9 businesses per 1,000 Winnipeggers in 2000 to 59.6 in 2013.
  • In Canada, 70% of the total private sector labour force is employed by small businesses. Their contribution to economic development is made in several ways: converting innovative ideas into economic opportunities, revitalizing social and productive networks, and increasing productivity.
  • More facts on this subject available at: http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer/WellBeing/Economy/Businesses/

 Source of the Data:  

  • Peg’s data for the Unemployment Rate indicator provided by Statistics Canada. Data for Businesses per Canada and Retail Sales provided by Economic Development Winnipeg.

 Media inquiries: 

  • We’d love to connect you with someone who can tell you more about Peg, the data, or who is making a difference in the community. Please contact: Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) | (204) 958-7740 | sbath@iisd.ca

Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 19:33

 January 17-23 is National Non-Smoking week. What does Peg tell us about smoking rates in Winnipeg? Peg tells us...

  • In 2014, fewer Winnipeggers smoked than at any point in the past ten years.
  • 16.1% of Winnipeggers self-identified as smokers in 2014, compared to 22.4% in 2003.

The facts are:

  • Despite some year to year fluctuations, Winnipeg has seen an overall decrease in its smoking rate over the last ten years. 
  • During this period, the highest rate was in 2008 at 23.3%, while the lowest rate was in 2014 at 16.1%. 
  • Winnipeg has been below the national average for the past five years. In 2014, 16.1% of Winnipeggers smoked vs. 18.1% of Canadians.

 ​​Definitions:

  • The smoking rate measures the percentage of people who self-report on the Canadian Community Health Survey as "a daily smoker," "an occasional daily smoker who previously was a daily smoker", or "always an occasional smoker". 

Why does this matter?

  • Smoking is an important health indicator, given that smoking is the leading cause of premature death in Canada, and accounts for between 6% and 15% of total annual healthcare costs in high-income countries (Statistics Canada, 2012). 

 More facts on this subject available at:  

 Media inquiries: 

  • We’d love to connect you with someone who can tell you more about Peg, the data, or who is making a difference in the community. Please contact: Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) | (204) 958-7740 | sbath@iisd.ca

  


Friday, December 4, 2015 - 21:06

A vision for a healthy community is one where everyone experiences their best possible health and well-being. When we all have access to the social and economic conditions that shape our well-being throughout life, we have health equity – that is, all people having the opportunity to reach their full health potential.

People often think of health as an individual matter and of health differences as being the result of choices within the control or willpower of individuals. We assume that the way to improve a community’s health is to change individual behaviours.

Data and research paint a different picture. Life circumstances profoundly affect how much individual control people actually have over their lives. Opportunities for health begin where we live, learn, work and play – opportunities such as employment, income sufficient to meet needs, good beginnings for children, learning throughout life, freedom from racism, affordable housing, well-planned urban spaces, and accessible public transportation.

The conditions to achieve health and well-being are not experienced evenly by all. There are differences in health associated with different social and economic circumstances. These differences are measured through health problems that can be counted, like hospitalizations or deaths, and then compared to available measures of social and economic conditions, like neighbourhood income. We understand that income is not the only condition that affects health, but it is one we have data for. These indicators point to health inequities or gaps in health status within our city.

In Winnipeg - an overall healthy, vibrant city - there are gaps between groups experiencing the highest and lowest health status, and gradients in between. The data shows that some of these gaps are getting wider. This report shines a spotlight on 14 health and wellness indicators, exploring how they are affected by income. The first focus is on a ‘big-picture indicator’- life expectancy at birth. In addition to projecting an age of death, this indicator speaks to the impact of unfavourable conditions from birth, and health burdens throughout life, at both an individual and community level. The second section  explores a set of selected indicators providing insight into conditions that contribute to different opportunities for health, showing the connection between health, income, employment, education, and housing. The final set of indicators map out differences in health outcomes across one’s lifetime.

The information in these indicators allows us to shift our gaze and start a new conversation. It opens the door to looking deeper into historical dynamics and circumstances, to working differently to close health gaps and to promote health equity. It encourages us to take action to close gaps and to work towards better health for all in our community.

A vision for a healthy community is one where everyone experiences their best possible health and well-being. When we all have access to the social and economic conditions that shape our well-being throughout life, we have health equity – that is, all people having the opportunity to reach their full health potential.A vision for a healthy community is one where everyone experiences their best possible health and well-being. When we all have access to the social and economic conditions that shape our well-being throughout life, we have health equity – that is, all people having the opportunity to reach their full health potential.

Access report here


Thursday, November 26, 2015 - 19:24

 November 27 is Black Friday, and holiday shopping season is underway. We’ve taken a look at some indicators in Peg’s economy theme and have learned that retail sales, personal disposable incomes and consumer price indices are all on the up! Peg tells us... Retail Sales:  

  • Over a five-year period, annual retail sales in WInnipeg increased 18% - from $9.2 billion in 2009 to $10.9 billion in 2014.
  • Retail sales figures track the dollar value of merchandise sold within the retail trade, and reflect consumer spending and confidence.

 Personal Disposable Income per Capita:  

  • In the last 5 years, Winnipeggers' disposable income has increased 9.6%, compared to 14.7% nationally. Canadians had $31,492 in disposable income per capita in 2014, $1,492 more than Winnipeggers' $30,000. 
  • Personal disposable income measures how much money is available for personal spending and saving after paying income taxes and pension contributions to the government. 

 Consumer Price Index:  

  • Winnipeg's consumer price index has increased by 47.8% over the past 20 years, from 84.5 in 1994 to 124.9 in 2014.
  • The consumer price index measures changes in how much we can buy with a certain amount of money. It is calculated by comparing the cost of a fixed basket of about 600 goods and services.

 More Information:  

  • More detail and source data for the above facts available at http://www.mypeg.ca/more-info, under the Retail Sales, Personal Disposable Income, and Consumer Price Index tabs. 
  • Peg’s data on Retail Sales and Personal Disposable Income is provided by Economic Development Winnipeg. Consumer Price Index data is provided by Statistics Canada.  

 More facts on this subject available at:  

 Media inquiries:  

  • We’d love to connect you with someone who can tell you more about Peg, the data, or who is making a difference in the community. Please contact: Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), (204) 958-7740, sbath@iisd.ca

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 13:49

Family Dynamics has launched a pilot project which provides support to people who want to become licensed to provide child care in their home. The program is called the “ Family Child Care Project”, and funding from Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care and Jobs and the Economy allows eligible participants to receive the following free supports:   

  • An introductory course in Family Child Care
  • Workshops in business development and positive discipline
  • Support through all of the licensing requirements.  

Upon completion of the program, participants become self-employed licensed child care providers.The licensing process can be overwhelming, but coordinators at Family Dynamics lead participants step by step through the process. The introductory course is a Red River College Course, and students earn a college credit when they complete the course. Participants receive training in business and policy development as well as enriched training on behaviour guidance.This is an exciting project because it addresses the dire need for more high quality child care spaces in Winnipeg, while at the same time helping people to become successful self-employed business operators.With all of these supports in place, we are confident that Winnipeg will enjoy the addition of high quality licensed child care options for parents who need to work. Milllie Braun is the Program Director, Family and Child Care Resources, Family Supports for Refugees at Family Dynamics


Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 14:22

Access to affordable child care is an issue that affects us all, in every corner of the city. What does new data now available on Peg tell us about the supply of Child Care Spaces in Winnipeg? Peg tells us...that while the number of child care spaces is growing city-wide, Winnipeg’s lower-income1 communities still have significantly fewer licensed spaces per 100 children than the city as a whole. The facts are: 

  • Between 2009 and 2014, the number of child care spaces available per 100 children aged 0 to 12 in Winnipeg increased from 19 to 20.8. During the same period, spaces in Point Douglas increased from 12.2 to 12.8.
  • In 2014, River Heights and St. James Assiniboia had the most spaces per 100 children, at 33.2 and 32.3 respectively, while the Inkster and Point Douglas communities had the fewest, at 13.6 and 12.8.

Definitions: 

  • Child Care Spaces measures how many licensed child care spaces are available for every 100 children. This indicator does not include unlicensed or informal child care spaces.
  • This indicator measures the supply of licensed child care spaces in Winnipeg, not the demand for child care spaces

Why does this matter? 

  • Child care is an important service for parents who require child care assistance at certain times during the day due to work or other commitments.  Child care can also help prepare children for school by building cognitive, language and social skills (Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP), 2004; Peisner-Feinberg et al., 2001).
  • This indicator is closely connected to basic needs. Particularly for single parents, but also for dual-parent families, placing young children in child care is the only way in which they can work to sustain their livelihoods.
  • While the Peg data reflects the number of licensed child care spaces available per 100 children aged 0 to 12, there are additional early childhood development programs and services available. Examples of these include nursery school programs within the Winnipeg School Division, and Aboriginal Head Start programs in many lower-income communities.
  • People often access child care spaces closer to their place of work or school, and are not necessarily limited to those spaces located within their area of residence.

More facts on this subject available at http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer#ChildCareSpaces. Peg’s data on Child Care Spaces is provided by Manitoba Family Services. Population data is provided by the Manitoba Health Population Report. Media inquiries: 

  • We’d love to connect you with someone who can tell you more about Peg, the data, or who is making a difference in the community. Please contact Jennifer Temmer, Project Officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) at (204) 958-7708 or jtemmer@iisd.ca

 1 Lower-income communities based on median household income. For more information, see http://www.mypeg.ca/explorer#HouseholdIncome


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