Category Archives: Medicine Hat & Southeastern Alberta

CSLS Releases Study on Estimates of the Human Development Index for the Canadian Territories and Provinces: Alberta Ranks First

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards today released a major study entitled “The Human Development Index in Canada: Estimates for the Canadian Provinces and Territories.” The report is posted at

This is the first study that has developed estimates of the Human Development Index (HDI) for the provinces and territories that are consistent with the official HDI estimates for Canada produced by the United Nations. Key findings from the study are highlighted below.

In 2011, Alberta ranked as the jurisdiction with the highest HDI in Canada, closely followed by Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia. Nunavut ranked last, and Prince Edward Island second last.

The HDI is based on life expectancy, average years of education attainment, expected years of education, and Gross National Income. For both life expectancy and average educational attainment, British Columbia ranked first among the 13 provinces and territories and Nunavut ranked last. For expected years of schooling, Quebec ranked at the top and Nunavut came in last, while for GNI per capita, Northwest Territories was in first place and Prince Edward Island was in last place.

In 2011, Canada ranked sixth out of 187 countries in the HDI, behind Norway, Australia, United States, the Netherlands and New Zealand. This ranking however hides considerable differences within Canada. The top four jurisdictions in Canada would rank third in the international rankings, between Australia and the United States and the Netherlands. Nunavut, with the lowest HDI among the 13 provinces and territories, would rank 38th internationally and second lowest Prince Edward Island 24th.

An analysis of the growth rate of the HDI over the past decade gives a different story than the level of the HDI. Low ranked Nunavut fared best, with the HDI advancing at a 0.54 per cent average annual rate between 2000 and 2011. It was closely followed by Newfoundland and Labrador at 0.48 per cent. In contrast Ontario had the slowest growth in the HDI of any jurisdiction in Canada (0.25 per cent per year), closely followed by Alberta and British Columbia (both at 0.26 per cent).

The report provides a comprehensive picture of developments in life expectancy, average education attainment, expected years of schooling, and Gross National Income per capita for all provinces and territories over the 2000-2011 period.

For further information, please contact:
Andrew Sharpe
Executive Director
Centre for the Study of Living Standards
710-151 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H3

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) is a national, independent, Ottawa-based not-for-profit research organization Its primary objective is to contribute to a better understanding of trends and determinants of productivity, living standards, and economic well-being in Canada through research.


Vital Signs continues to shed light, motivate action, on physician recruitment problem in Southeastern Alberta

By Jayne Halladay

Since our first Vital Signs was issued in 2007, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta has reported on the lack of family physicians for our community.

Since then we have gone from about 13% of our population (12 and over) without a family physician to more than 20% in 2011.

Jayne Halladay of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta

For the first time, in 2010, Medicine Hat was above the national rate of 15% – at about 18% – and the rate continues to climb.

As a result of the yearly increase in our population without a family doctor, the Community Foundation convened a group of community leaders, including representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Medicine Hat and an Alberta Health Services body known as the Physician Recruitment Group, to address the growing concern.

The Physician Recruitment Group is working to enhances the efforts of Alberta Health Services recruitment efforts to highlight the quality of life in our community. The focus is not only on the doctors but their families, as well as on providing a 360-degree view of a place we hope they will call home.

Jayne Halladay is Community Impact Coordinator with the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta

Obesity rates in Medicine Hat propel Community Foundation to action

In more ways than one, it’s a big problem.

In 2010, Medicine Hat’s Vital Signs found area residents are less physically active than the average Albertan, which is no doubt in part to blame for an obesity rate that is 40 per cent higher than the provincial average – and nearly 50 per cent higher than the national average.

“We have been highlighting these issues in Vital Signs since 2008, and so it was important to take a leadership role and do something about it,” says Mike Christie, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta.

Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta has partnered with a local TV station on ads around obesity and other health issues

“We wanted to raise awareness, encourage good habits, and ensure resources were available for those who needed them.”

The organization, in partnership with CHAT TV, the local television station, created a series of infomercials to create awareness of the issue amongst as wide an audience as possible.

The spots – quoting Vital Signs – encourage good eating habits, quitting smoking and increased physical activity.

“It’s still early days yet,” says Christie. “Hopefully the broadcasts will continue and the message gets through. We will be very interested to see the latest stats.”

The Community Foundation also granted $10,000 to Kidsport, a local charity that helps kids with the expenses incurred by their chosen sports, thus ensuring that lack of means doesn’t keep them from participating in physical activities.

Vital Signs City Shape Up videos shine spotlight on Medicine Hat health issues

Did you know that, as of 2009, the rate of people identified as smokers in Medicine Hat was 56.2 above the national average?

It’s a shocking situation, one of several identified in a new series of video vignettes aimed at raising public awareness, created by the Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta and local television station CHAT-TV.

Part of the Community Foundation’s Vital Signs initiatives, the first video in the City Shape Up series also points out that flavoured spit tobacco is being used in huge numbers by youth. And that 40 per cent of those products sold in Canada are purchased in Alberta.

It’s a thought-provoking and well-made series that also focuses on other health topics, including different aspects of smoking, as well as the importance of healthy breakfasts.

You can find out more here

“Vital” tobacco reduction efforts continue in Southeastern Alberta

By Michelle Sauve

Based on the Medicine Hat Vital Signs 2010 results, Medicine Hat and area’s smoking rates are 34.8% above the provincial average and a whopping 56.2% above the national rate.  Data gathered via the Canadian Community Health Survey indicates that for 2009, 31.4% of the population aged 12 and older in our health region identify themselves as daily smokers.

While comprehensive tobacco control strategies, including advocating for healthy public policy, have been employed for many years by staff and volunteers of the Canadian Cancer Society Alberta/NWT Division, it is clear that there is much more work to be done in order to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco in our community. An important aspect of this work has been generating awareness that our efforts in tobacco reduction must continue, despite a public perception that this work is complete.

Recent provincial and federal legislation (Alberta’s Tobacco Reduction Act, the Federal “Cracking Down on Tobacco” Act” has given many Canadians the impression that enough has been accomplished in tobacco reduction. Yet there is so much more to be done.

The Society will continue to advocate for legislation which supports tobacco reduction, including smoke-free vehicles, bans on flavour additives in spit tobacco, and smoke-free outdoor spaces.

At a local level, the Society is also a member of the Tobacco Reduction Coalition of Southeastern Alberta and works to promote cessation programs, offer information and support and participate in awareness and education initiatives throughout the health region.

Furthering the cause, the Canadian Cancer Society Medicine Hat and District Unit Office has been participating in Vital Signs since 2007, both as a contributor and a grader. This relationship has generated significant awareness of the ongoing need to strengthen our efforts in tobacco reduction in our community. Our high tobacco use rates have garnered significant media attention and the alarming stats have also been featured in the Spring Summer 2009 Community Connections Newsletter.

As a direct result of the Medicine Hat Vital Signs 2010 report card, the high smoking rates have also drawn the attention of Medicine Hat’s Foundation Community Leadership Committee.

Mike Christie, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Medicine Hat & Southeastern Alberta, indicates that “vital activity addressing smoking rates, as well as obesity, is in the early planning stages and will likely include working with the Canadian Cancer Society and media to create an awareness and education campaign to tackle these concerning stats.”

While it is too early to predict the impacts of this partnership, attention to the need to continue our efforts to reduce our smoking rates and the Society’s relationship with Vital Signs and the Community Foundation are integral steps in the health of our community.

Michelle Sauve is Community Engagement Coordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division. She has worked in tobacco advocacy for the past five years.

City working with Community Foundation on flood recovery

The City of Medicine Hat is working with the Community Foundation of Medicine Hat & Southeastern Alberta to receive financial donations for a flood relief fund. These funds will be used to provide mid to long-term recovery assistance to those from Medicine Hat and Cypress County who were impacted by the flood. 

“The devastation of this event has touched people not only locally, but across the country,” says Acting Mayor Jamie White. “The generosity and willingness of people to help in times of need is astounding, so the City is partnering with the Community Foundation to develop a process that will make it easier to collect and distribute funds.”
If you want to fundraise or donate goods and services, please make all donations directly to the charitable organizations in the region that are providing assistance. For more information about charitable organizations that are assisting with flood relief, call the Flood Information line at 403-502-8900 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.

For further information, please contact:

Flood Information Line: 403.502.8900
Community Foundation 403.527.9038


The Community Foundation will distribute the funds to charitable organizations in the region that are providing assistance in the flood recovery process.

Anyone interested in contributing financially can specify where the funds are applied (e.g. to Medicine Hat, Cypress County or both). To donate, visit the Community Foundation office located at 430-6th Avenue S.E.

, room 104. Online donations can also be made through the Canada Helps icon on the foundation website, Charitable tax receipts will be issued for all donations of $20 or more. For more information, contact Community Foundation at 403-527-9038.

Community to weigh in on Vital Signs

Community Consultations for 2010 Vital Signs:
Community Foundation asks for public input

Medicine Hat, Alberta (May 20, 2009) – ‘Hatters will have two chances next week to add their input to the 2010 Medicine Hat’s Vital Signs report. The Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta is hosting two separate public consultations in order for citizens to express what they would like to see in this year’s report.

The first consultation, aimed at the business community, will take place in the Chamber of Commerce’s board room on Tuesday, May 25 from 12 – 1 PM. The second consultation is of a general nature and will take place on Thursday, May 27 from 12 – 1 PM in REDI Enterprises’s board room.

Community consultations play an important role in the kick-off to the Vital Signs process.

“These consultations allow us to hear what citizens believe are the strengths and weaknesses of Medicine Hat,” said Mike Christie, executive director of the Community Foundation. “It also helps us create a better report because we hear what issues are important to ‘Hatters.”

Medicine Hat’s Vital Signs will be released on October 5, marking the fourth consecutive year that the organization has participated in the publication. In 2009, 16 Community Foundations across the country produced the report for their individual communities. Vital Signs serves as a community report card, with volunteers grading each indicator before publication.

Christie urges citizens of all ages to come to a consultation to express their views.

Vital Signs has become a platform for local action amongst community leaders and volunteers,” Christie said. “Citizens’ input, especially in the early stages of the process, is integral to the final Vital Signs report. The contributions that residents make at these meetings can help us grow a better community.”

The events include free beverages, and attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch. The Chamber of Commerce is located at 413 – 6th Avenue SE and REDI Enterprises is located at 860 Allowance Ave. SE.

No reservations are necessary to attend the events; however, each location has limited seating. For more information regarding the consultations or the Vital Signs report, please call the Community Foundation at (403) 527-9038 or email

CONTACT:Mike Christie
(403) 527-9038