Harris Centre Annual Report - Snapshots from around the province


Who: Dr. Alvin Simms, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts

What: Harris Centre partnership with the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

If Newfoundland and Labrador was made up of 100 people, there would be 49 males and 51 females, their average age would be 44 years, their life expectancy – 78.9 years, and 40 of them would live on the Northeast Avalon, 5 would live in Labrador. There would be 57 people between the ages of 25 and 64, and 15 people younger than 15 years old.

This information and more can be found in the province’s first ever Vital Signs, an annual report on key quality of life indicators in Newfoundland and Labrador. The report was released this past October by the Harris Centre in partnership with the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (CFNL). Through a unique partnership with TC Media, the full report was printed in every copy of the provincial newspaper, The Telegram, as well as each of TC Media’s regional newspapers across the province.
Part of Community Foundations of Canada’s national Vital Signs program, the report provides a comprehensive, reader-friendly look at how Newfoundland and Labrador communities are faring in 13 different quality of life areas across 12 different regions in the province: the gap between rich and poor, safety, health, learning, housing, youth, newcomers, arts & culture, environment, population, economy, belonging & leadership, and transportation.

Dr. Alvin Simms, of Memorial Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, and research assistant, Jamie Ward, led the charge on the data collection and analysis for the report.

“It was really important that we looked at the data from a regional perspective for ensuring data quality and to highlight the geographical differences and similarities,” said Dr. Simms. “We have a large province and each region faces its own set of challenges – even just looking at the population changes in the province tells a very different story from region to region. On the Northeast Avalon, we’re seeing lots of population growth, but for many rural parts of the province population decline and an aging population are very important issues.”

The report aims to give community organizations, policy makers and individuals, information on a range of issues, all in one place, to spark discussion, collaboration and action.

“The challenge for communities across the province now is to look to their neighbours, build upon their collective strengths, and work together to build strong, economically diverse regions,” said Dr. Simms. “It’s not about getting bigger, it’s about getting together.”


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The Harris Centre

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Tel: (709) 864-8000