Hello Vibrant Community champions,
We hope that you are having a fantastic summer.
You are receiving this email because you have either been participating in our roundtable or we hope you join us in this very important project.
We want to provide you an update on the Vibrant Community Roundtable and what we have achieved since our last meeting in late May. The next step in our process is to establish a common agenda. Our collective vision is what will bring us together to address complex societal issues and help us build a more vibrant community for all of our residents.
In order to find that vision we have created a short, simple survey that we have been sharing across the community. Our goal is to reach people from Akwesasne, Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry from all walks of life and background and ask them what issues are a priority for them in building a vibrant community.
We are thrilled to report that as of today we have received more than 550 survey responses. This is beyond anything we hoped for. We won’t go in-depth with an analysis yet as the survey is still open, but what we can share is that the number one priority across our region is Mental Health, with Poverty and Financial Stability coming in 2nd.
Two of our survey questions help us identify where our respondents live and what their background is. We ask them:
What option below best represents your situation?
- I am a business owner or work in the for-profit industry.
- I work or volunteer in the non-profit sector.
- I work in the health care sector
- I am a government representative.
- I am an individual member of this community with lived experience. (I have faced challenges such as poverty, injustice, or abuse etc.)
Currently, the majority of responses are coming from individuals with lived experience. This is ideal in helping us build our common agenda as we are hearing from folks living with the complex issues we hope to address. We owe our success in this department to a partnership with the Social and Housing Services for the City of Cornwall. As you might know, this summer the Social and Housing Services department completed a Homelessness Enumeration for all of Cornwall and SDG. The Housing staff completed surveys at food banks, drop-in centers, libraries, health services, public parks and many other locations. They generously offered to include our survey with theirs throughout this process.
We really want our survey responses to reflect our community as a whole. Although we have had great success with participation we are hoping to gain a few more responses from Glengarry and Stormont overall and a few more from business owners and health care professionals throughout SDG. We are hoping that this is where you can help us. If you have any contacts within those counties or sectors, please share the survey with them. Attached to this email you will find a letter in both French and English that you can copy into an email to send to your contacts. We of course welcome responses from all regions.
We will keep the survey open for another week and a half then begin to really breakdown the results. We hope to provide a more in-depth report to the group before our next meeting. This will give you the opportunity to reflect on the results and start thinking of ways we can come together and find solutions.
Expect to hear from us in the next month or so with more details and a date for our fall meeting.
Carilyne Hébert and Karen Roundpoint
Welcome to the first edition of the Vibrant Community Roundtable (VCR) newsletter! This publication is designed to keep all members of the roundtable informed about its proceedings and projects.
What is the Vibrant Community Roundtable?
The Vibrant Community Roundtable is a project that brings together various community leaders, including civic representatives and individuals from the business, non-profit and interfaith sectors in Akwesasne, Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The roundtable’s purpose is to engage in discussion about how to address complex societal issues like poverty and community livability. The roundtable’s ultimate goal is to form a group that will work together to build a healthier and more vibrant community for all.
Summary of the Roundtable’s Inaugural Meeting
Presentation by Liz Weaver, Co-CEO of the Tamarack Institute
The roundtable’s inaugural meeting was held on February 7th, 2018 at the Ontario Power Generation Visitor Centre in Cornwall. It began with a presentation by Liz Weaver, Co-CEO of the Tamarack Institute and Strategic Lead at the Tamarack Learning Centre. The Tamarack Institute is an organization that works with leaders in non-profits, governments, businesses and the community to make the work of advancing positive community change easier and more effective.
Presentation by Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), then gave a presentation on the role public health plays in ensuring a healthy society, and how it can help solve complex issues that affect many individuals in our region. Dr. Paul also explained why certain sectors of society get left behind through a variety of statistics, including the following:
Lower wages than average in Cornwall and the United Counties of SD&G:
- Average Family After Tax Income in Ontario: $79,531
- Average Family After Tax Income in the United Counties of SD&G: $67,146 (over $12,000 less than Ontario average)
- The proportion of the population in the Eastern Champlain region (which includes Cornwall and SD&G) with low income is higher than the regional average, as is the rate of unemployment.
- Statistics are not currently available for Akwesasne.
Effects of lower wages and poverty on children’s overall development:
- SD&G and more specifically Cornwall have a high rate of children considered “vulnerable” according to the EDI (Early Development Instrument). The EDI is a questionnaire completed by kindergarten teachers that measures children’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations in various domains.
- While 27.3% of children in Ontario are considered vulnerable, the rate increases to 28.6% in SD&G and 39.8% in Cornwall.
- Children’s vulnerability tends to be linked to their family’s income. While only 20% of children in high-income neighbourhoods are considered vulnerable, the rate almost doubles to 35% in low-income neighbourhoods.
Effects of lower wages and poverty on the population’s overall health:
- Poverty accounts for 20% of all healthcare costs.
- The link between poverty and high healthcare costs becomes apparent when the rate of acute care hospitalizations for certain chronic conditions is compared between Eastern Champlain (which includes Cornwall and SD&G) and the Ontario average:
The inaugural meeting ended with a workshop where the members of the roundtable got to apply information they gathered throughout the day to various situations.
As noted in the meeting minutes found on the Social Development Council Website, the feedback from workshop aspect circulated around 3 Main topics:
- Systemic issues
- Community Focused Issues
- Identified Population
We are now looking to dig a little deeper into these discussion topics to help guide the discussion of our next meeting on May 29th 2018 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm at the Ontario Power Generation Visitor Centre.
See You at the Next Meeting!
The roundtable’s next meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Ontario Power Generation Visitor Centre in Cornwall. Please contact Sylvie Kinloch at 613-930-0211 or e-mail email@example.com to RSVP.
Over 40 civic representatives and individuals from the business, non-profit and interfaith sectors in Akwesasne, Cornwall and the United Counties of SD&G came together at the inaugural meeting of the Vibrant Community Roundtable on February 7th 2018.