Tag Archives: youth unemployment

Media picks up on Vital Signs findings, nationally and locally

By Skana Gee

It was a big day yesterday, for Community Foundations of Canada and 22 local foundations, as we released Vital Signs 2011 – focusing national and local attention on key issues impacting our country and communities.

Media calls came fast and furious, as we fielded national print, broadcast and online interview requests about our top Vital Signs findings – including obesity, youth unemployment and personal bankruptcy. Meanwhile local foundations had ample opportunity to share their own challenges and success stories with media outlets on the ground.

Here’s a round-up of some of the media from various Vital Signs communities across Canada, in alphabetical order. You can find all of the local Vital Signs reports, local media releases, and the national Canada’s Vital Signs 2011 report on our Vital Signs website.

Our national snapshot attracted media attention from: 

CBC online focusing on the the fact Canada is losing the war on obesity, despite countless initiatives and dollars spent in the past decade. Be sure to click on the video link to watch CFC President & CEO Ian Bird expand on the findings. We also garnered a range of stories on CBC Radio and CBC News Network. 

Vancouver Sun columnist Don Cayo took on the youth unemployment issue, pointing out a need for “dramatic” improvement.Cayo also used his blog to highlight other Vital Signs findings and link to CFC’s findings online:

Montreal Gazette and other newspapers carried Postmedia reporter Amy Chung’s story offering an overview of the findings, including interviews with Bird, obesity expert Dr. Arya Sharma, and BMO’s Sal Guatieri:

Radio Canada International (English service) spoke with Ian for an overall look at our findings – it aired as the top story Tuesday!

Locally, here’s how the media spotlight shone:


Calgarians happier, but concerned about transit: Vital Signs reportCalgary Herald

Calgary scores higher on ‘Vital Signs’ CBC

Calgary gets a higher overall grade in Vital Signs survey660 News

Central Okanagan

Room to improve for Kelowna’s Vital SignsRadio 101.5

Grande Prairie

Vital report card releasedDaily Herald Tribune

Sparking conversation and action goal of Vital Signs HQGrandePrairie.com


Bridging The GapThe Spectator


Study confirms working-poor woes Kingston Whig-Standard

Medicine Hat

Study: Life in Medicine Hat a mixed bag – Medicine Hat News


Report probes city’s Vital Signs Mississauga.com

North Okanagan

Community perceptions reveiledVernon Morning Star

Nova Scotia

Breaking the cycle of poverty: Community groups in Wolfville are working together to ensure no one gets left behind – The Chronicle-Herald

Saint John

Poverty down, but obesity high – Telegraph-Journal

VitalSigns 2011 Shows A Slight Poverty DipCHSJ 94.1 Radio


Vital Signs report: Alarming trends in Sudburians’ healthNorthern Life


Vital Signs 2011 report: Ten issues Torontonians should knowNational Post

Toronto Vital Signs report finds growing gap between rich and poorCity News

Life in our divided city Toronto Star


Cost of living in Victoria is main issue in Vital Signs report: Natural environment among the “best” thingsVancouver Sun

Rising costs burden families: report Oak Bay News

Skana Gee is  Communications Coordinator for Community Foundations of Canada


Young workers highly vulnerable in our unsettled economy

Throughout the month of October the Vital Signs Canada blog will feature guest bloggers who are experts on various aspects of community vitality. Today’s contributor is Dr. Sharon Manson Singer, President and CEO of Canadian Policy Research Networks.

Collaboration between public and private sectors the key to enhancing youth employment

The recent Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) Vital Signs report on youth unemployment highlights that young workers (ages 15-24) are particularly vulnerable when economic times get tough.  According to the report, the youth unemployment rate stands at 16.3% — a staggering figure which is expected to grow faster than unemployment in the general population.  For those youth lucky enough to be employed, the average work hours per week (a meager 23.4) are the lowest in more than 30 years. 

Youth have always been some of the most vulnerable workers in our society and often get left behind in policies and programs designed to enhance job skills, training and employment.  Last year, Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) published a series of research papers entitled, Pathways for Youth to the Labour Market  which examines how young people in Canada navigate from school to the labour market, and the outcomes associated with taking different paths.  Our research found that Canadian youth often take a non-linear route to the labour market, taking time off from their studies or switching educational programs – a reality our government and school training and employment-readiness programs do not always accommodate. 

CPRN research confirms that graduates of post-secondary education (university, college and trades programs) are more likely to be employed and earn more than those who only have a high school diploma, high school dropouts, and even those who temporarily take a break from high school (but later graduate).  This means that the link between education and employment is critical, and that career development programs and services that can increase educational attainment for Canadian youth, and help ready young people for the jobs that match their interests and skills, are paramount. 

Unfortunately we found that career development services for youth in Canada are (with some notable exceptions) largely fragmented, inconsistently funded, piecemeal and difficult for young Canadians to access.  We also found that much more needs to be done to encourage an emphasis on a vocational curriculum in high schools, and to enable partnerships between schools (secondary and post-secondary) and employers, and to strengthen co-operative and apprenticeship programs in the public and private sectors.

Our research series highlights opportunities for schools and governments to expand and coordinate resources between regions to enhance learning pathways for Canadian youth, and highlights the need for a national career development strategy for youth or national standards for service quality and provision.  But governments are not the only players. 

CPRN research also highlights the important place of business and the labour movement in career training and guidance.  In our Youth Dialogue on learning and work, more than 140 youth from across Canada told us that they feel they did not have the appropriate information about the array of careers open to them.  They called for more, and better, information on both employment and educational opportunities, including entrepreneurial paths and the trades.  Canada falls well below other developed countries on employer investment in workplace learning – so there is an opportunity here. The private sector in partnership with schools and governments could work together to help accommodate this need and better prepare Canadian youth for the labour market. 

Canada will soon experience a significant inter-generational transfer of employees with a large outflow of baby boomers from the labour force; at the same time, Canada will require a highly skilled labour force to compete in today’s global markets.  Increasing resources and attention to targeted youth education, training and employment programs will have lasting benefits for the Canadian economy as a whole.  If we are to increase our productivity as a country we cannot afford to let this generation drift off.  This is not just about their future, but our future as well. 

Dr. Sharon Manson Singer is the President of Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN), a leading non-partisan think tank providing socio-economic policy research and engagement to Canadian leaders.  Follow CPRN on http://twitter.com/CanadianPolicy


To assist youth, and others, to navigate through the labour market, CPRN runs the website  JobQuality.ca which is sponsored by governments, labour and the private sector alike, and provides information on the quality of jobs in Canada.  Site information includes news articles and reports, interviews and online surveys, as well as job quality indicators on such issues as work-life balance, job security, job design, pay

What’s making early headlines across the country

Today Canadians awoke to tv and radio broadcasts announcing major social and health trends affecting Canadians.

Two significant findings – one on low infant birthweights, and the other a surge in youth unemployment were featured on CBC radio and Canada AM respectively.

On the local scene, the following made early news:
* Central Okanagan’s first Vital Signs Report reveals public concerned about two main issues: the gap between rich and poor and housing
* Calgarians feeling safer as crime rate dips below the national average 
* Ottawa needs to make health improvements its top priority 
* Medicine Hat’s residents are relying more on EI and food banks as a result of the recession 
* Red Deer residents rate law & order top concern, despite drop in crime rate  
Toronto is described a city of contradictions, an affluent community where the poor get poorer
* Waterloo is experiencing rapid urbanization and an increase in the number of elderly living in poverty
* Victoria residents give their city high marks though youth surveyed are critical of area’s income disparity 
* Wolfville‘s first report report reveals economic inequality and a high child poverty rate  

 Watch for more key news coverage tomorrow and follow us on Twitter for the latest news coverage and information about Vital Signs 2009.