Do we all belong here? New report challenges how connected people feel to their communities and Canada

OTTAWA, Oct. 6, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - One-third of Canadians feel a weak sense of community belonging due in part to the persistence of discrimination and social isolation, says a new national report from Community Foundations of Canada. A majority of Canadians also don't feel things are getting better.

Belonging: Exploring connection to community, released today as part of Community Foundations of Canada's national Vital Signs program with the support FI Capital Ltd., highlights how connected people feel to their communities and how much they feel they belong to the country. Among the report's key findings:

  • Supportive interactions between people are one of the strongest factors found to increase community belonging.
  • People who feel they belong to a community are more likely to contribute with others for the common good.
  • As newcomers spend time more in Canada, their sense of belonging to community and country grows.
  • Visible minorities are more likely to identify with a new national identity if they feel their ethnicity is publicly respected.
  • Aboriginal communities that have maintained more elements of their culture and a greater level of self-governance feel more individual identity and community connection.

"Belonging is a defining issue that's central to some of today's most pressing realities," says Ian Bird, President, Community Foundations of Canada. "When we look at the challenges facing our communities and our country right now, from our inclusion of refugees to opportunities for greater reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples to our increasingly diverse cities, belonging is at the heart of our connection to one another and how accepting we are of difference and diversity."

With the launch of this year's Vital Signs report, Community Foundations of Canada will make  belonging  a major focus of its work for the next three years leading up to Canada's sesquicentennial in 2017 and beyond.

National survey unpacks Canadians' sense of belonging

Belonging: Exploring connection to community features responses from a national survey conducted in partnership with the Angus Reid Institute in August 2015 on Canadians' sense of belonging and connection to community. Some of the findings that appear throughout the national Vital Signs report include:

  • Only 17% of Canadians are optimistic that things are getting somewhat or a lot better in Canada. 83% of Canadians believe that things are staying the same (39%) or getting worse (44%).
  • Half of Canadians (50%) think that being involved in community events or activities is either not very important or not at all important in their day-to-day lives; and 38% don't feel like they have a stake in their local community.
  • Canadians believe that affordability (40%), public safety (38%) and employment opportunities (36%) are among the most important factors in what makes their community a good place to live.

Communities across Canada release local reports

Vital Signs is a national program led by community foundations that leverages local knowledge to measure the vitality of our communities and support action towards improving our quality of life. More than 70 communities across Canada and around the world use Vital Signs to mobilize the power of community knowledge for greater local impact. Twenty-six community foundations across Canada launch their own local reports today at vitalsignscanada.ca.

Lead Vital Signs Partner

FI Capital Ltd. is the Lead Partner for the national 2015 Vital Signs program and the title sponsor of Belonging: Exploring connection to community. FI Capital Ltd. is working with Community Foundations of Canada to strengthen an understanding of the role that belonging plays in communities across the country, and the collective steps we can take to build a more plural and connected future for all Canadians.

About Community Foundations of Canada

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada's 191 community foundations, which help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work and play. Find out more at communityfoundations.ca.

 

SOURCE Community Foundations of Canada

For further information: or to schedule interviews with Ian Bird, President, Community Foundations of Canada, please contact: David Venn, Director of Communications, Community Foundations of Canada, P: (613) 236-2664 ext. 302, C: (613) 266-6917, E: dvenn@communityfoundations.ca

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www.communityfoundations.ca

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