2020 Our City: A Peg Report on COVID-19 and Well-Being Indicators to Watch

Photo: Assiniboine Park on March 30, 2020. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View/download 2020 Our City (PDF)

2020 Our City is Peg’s sixth report to Winnipeggers. This report focuses on our well-being entering an unprecedented year and some immediate changes Winnipeg is experiencing as a result of COVID-19. We highlight longer-term data trends to watch using indicators tracked on Peg. The report pairs Peg’s data with emerging insights from verified provincial and national sources. 

2020 Our City shows where Winnipeg stood before the pandemic and showcases how community organizations and the people they serve have been impacted in 2020. Our reliable indicator set is a valuable resource for understanding the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and is essential to making informed decisions about how to prevent greater hardship and instead improve the future well-being for all Winnipeggers.

“Winnipeg struggles with inequality. Last year’s Peg report noted some neighbourhoods are being left behind and early data shows the pandemic is increasing this divide. As a community, we absolutely need to be looking for evidence-based pandemic response policies that recognize and reduce this inequality.”

– Jane McDonald, Executive Vice President, IISD

This year, the Peg report has collected available data showing immediate pandemic impacts – COVID-19 case counts, Manitoba’s employment rate by sex, mental health surveys, and data on commuting habit changes due to the pandemic – while also selecting prime Peg indicators to use for measuring the long-term impacts. The report features 14 indicators considered of particular relevance to the ways the pandemic has affected our community and are likely to continue to have an effect.

“For the Peg team, this crisis confirms our mantra: it’s not enough to care about Winnipeg; we must measure to know how we’re doing. Winnipeggers clearly agree. There’s a palpable demand for daily data on caseload, school exposures, and economic fallout. We are scrutinizing data together like never before.”

– Connie Walker, President and CEO, United Way Winnipeg

The 14 indicators featured in the report touch on almost every aspect of our daily lives—because these same day-to-day realities all have been affected in some way by the pandemic. The degree to which the pandemic has impacted people and neighbourhoods varies and the indicators reflect the ongoing struggle we face with inequality.

Highlights from the report

  • Unemployment had dropped to 5.3 percent in Winnipeg in 2019, its lowest point since 2009 and below the national average of 5.7 percent
  • Retail sales had climbed to $13.4 billion in the Winnipeg census metropolitan area in 2019, continuing a gradual rise over the past decade
  • Mood and anxiety disorder rates had shown little improvement in the most recent data available
  • Collision fatalities had risen in 2018 (12) and 2019 (15) after reaching a 20-year low in 2017 (9)
  • Building permit values had risen to a record high of just under $2.17 million in 2019 
  • Child care space availability differed widely across neighbourhoods in the most recent year when data was available (2014), with highs in River Heights and Assiniboine South, and lows in Point Douglas and Inkster
  • Median charitable donations had risen to $420 in 2018, above the Canadian average of $310

It is clear the pandemic will greatly disrupt these and other development trends, with the report’s authors calling for continued attention to the broad, interrelated impacts of this unprecedented crisis. 

Recognizing the need to contextualize data and fill data gaps, the report also shares stories from Winnipeg organizations on the front lines of responding to pandemic impacts, including Main Street Project, Resource Assistance for Youth, AMIK, Economic Development Winnipeg, Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, Artspace, Green Action Centre, and West Central Women’s Resource Centre, among others.

View/download the 2020 Our City report.

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