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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.