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REF NO.: 29

SUBJECT: Capturing the vital signs of Newfoundland and Labrador

DATE: Sept. 24

A new partnership between Memorial University’s Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development and the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (CFNL) will see the creation of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Vital Signs, an annual report on key quality of life indicators in the province.

As 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 key quality of life areas, including the gap between rich and poor, safety, health, learning, housing, youth, newcomers, arts and culture, environment, work, belonging and leadership, economy and transportation.

“This report will provide critical information to help communities across the province set priorities and identify opportunities for action,” said Jennifer Guy, chair, CFNL. “It takes a critical look at where we stand, so we can be better equipped to move forward.”

Vital Signs is a national program of Community Foundations of Canada, which co-ordinates the release of dozens of community-made reports across the country each year. This year marks the first Newfoundland and Labrador report, which takes a look at 13 different quality of life indicators across 13 different regions in the province.

“Taking a regional approach to the report was critical for us in this first edition,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, executive director, Harris Centre. “We have a large province and each region has its own unique set of strengths and challenges, and the real value of this type of work comes from looking at the information from a regional perspective. For lots of issues, we can’t tell the real story without telling the regional story.”

The aim of the report, Dr. Greenwood explains, is to help enable community organizations, policy-makers and individuals to understand the strengths and challenges facing their communities, and to come together to celebrate those strengths, address the challenges and make informed policy decisions.

Ms. Guy says the report marks the beginning of a larger process of stakeholder engagement.

“We want to bring community organizations and leaders into the discussion, and use this report as a way to work together to build stronger communities,” she said. “But a report about the community can’t be done without the community—we want to engage community stakeholders in a discussion about what other issues or areas need to be focused on in future reports.”

The inaugural Newfoundland and Labrador Vital Signs report will be released Tuesday, Oct. 7, to coincide with the release of Vital Signs reports across the country.

The Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador promotes and sustains healthy communities across our province by providing grant funding to a wide range of community organizations. CFNL combines a broad, provincewide reach with a grassroots focus on small organizations that can have a major impact in their local communities. The foundation’s goal is to address community problems and to enrich the lives of community members.

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For more information, please contact Cathy Newhook, communications co-ordinator, Harris Centre, Memorial University, at 709-864-7918, cathyn@mun.ca; or Ainsley Hawthorn, executive director, Community Foundations NL, at 709-753-9899, info@cfnl.ca.

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