Vital Signs is a community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada. Each Vital Signs report measures the vitality of its community in key areas, providing the community with critical information that can help set priorities and identify opportunities for action.
Vital Signs was first started by the Toronto Community Foundation in 2001, after a group of civic leaders came up with a new way to engage their community in understanding and monitoring the health and vitality of Toronto on an ongoing basis. In 2006, Vital Signs became a national program and it continues to grow every year, both across Canada and internationally.
Among other elements, Vital Signs looks at the sense of belonging and civic engagement. The 2014 report for Toronto found that:
Almost 7 in 10 Torontonians, and almost 8 in 10 youth, reported a strong sense of belonging to their community
in 2013: The percentage of city youth (12–19) who report a strong sense of belonging has been growing in recent years, but
decreased by 8% from 2012 to 2013 (from 85.5% to 78.7%).
…[but] Almost 2 of every 10 Toronto neighbourhoods are in dire need of community meeting places: Of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods, 28 received a “red” (or risk) diagnosis for
the prevalence of community meeting places (such as community centres and places of worship) within a 10-minute walk.