2021 Voluntary Local Review shares Winnipeg progress with United Nations

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Posted February 8, 2022 by mtenbruggencate

Photo: Ai Weiwei Forever Bicycles (Daniel Crump, Winnipeg Free Press, 26 December 2020)

View/download VLR (PDF)

A new report, Winnipeg and the SDGs: A Voluntary Local Review of Progress 2021, has been submitted to the United Nations by United Way Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

(Le français à suivre)

The report is a Voluntary Local Review (VLR) for Winnipeg, one of the first of its kind in Canada. A VLR is a subnational review of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation. The report shares the city’s progress towards localizing the SDGs and contains deep insights into well-being trends, including how the pandemic has reshaped life for those living in Manitoba’s capital. Winnipeg is the second Canadian city to publish a Voluntary Local Review (after Kelowna, British Columbia), joining cities
around the globe that are working towards a better world with fair, safe, and sustainable societies.

All data included in this report is tracked on Peg, an interactive data dashboard that gathers statistics from official agencies (Statistics Canada, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Winnipeg Police Services, City of Winnipeg, etc.) at both the neighbourhood and city levels, and translates it into easy-to-grasp charts, graphs, and maps.

““The COVID-19 data dashboard approach Winnipeggers have come to expect during the pandemic—with easy-to-grasp visualizations that support evidence-based discussions—should be applied to our other ongoing challenges. We aren’t doing this work in a vacuum, either. Submitting this report to the UN helps connect Winnipeg to cities around the world sharing similar challenges and solutions.”

– Jane McDonald, Executive Vice President, IISD

Officially adopted in 2015 by Canada and 192 other countries as part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, the SDGs are commitments to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by promoting inclusive, equitable, safe, and sustainable societies. Using data from Peg, Winnipeg’s community indicator system (CIS), this report gives us a chance as a community to highlight where Winnipeg is rising to meet today’s most difficult policy challenges, as well as identifying gaps that can help us move forward in the years ahead.

“For both of our organizations, moving the data housed within Peg into a United Nations Voluntary Local Review has been a chance to reflect on the strengths of our home and why we choose to live here. Reviewing other VLRs, we’ve found inspiration in other cities righting long-standing wrongs. It has also increased our understanding of how some marginalized populations in Winnipeg are being left behind.”

– Connie Walker, President and CEO, United Way Winnipeg

Achieving the global SDGs requires local action and local monitoring, and with guidance from a group of leaders from the nonprofit sector, local government, and academia, as well as learnings from community organizations doing innovative work throughout the city, Winnipeg’s first VLR will begin to show how we can close gaps between our local realities and the global implementation of the SDGs.

Highlights from the report

  • Market Basket Measure, which tracks the percentage of individuals living on a low income, is Canada’s official poverty line. Winnipeg’s rate decreased from 2015 to 2019 (13.2 percent to 10 percent), though it remains higher than Canada’s 2019 rate (8.2 percent).
  • Unemployment Rate was relatively steady from 2009 to 2019. From 2019 to 2020, it jumped from 5.3 percent to 8.7 percent. Participation rate, the percentage of working-age people (15 years and over) that are part of the labour force, declined to the lowest rate seen since 1970.
  • Food Bank Use increased by 19% between 2015 and 2019, and Winnipeg’s largest food bank reported a roughly 30% increase in demand, coupled with a significant drop in donations when the pandemic hit.
  • Personal Safety, based on the number of crimes committed, varies across neighbourhoods. It ranged from 3.9 incidents per 1,000 people in Assiniboine South to 37.5 in the Downtown neighbourhood in 2020.
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders held steady pre-pandemic, but more data is needed to understand the significant mental health effects of the pandemic on Winnipeggers.
  • Median Household Income is almost twice as high in Winnipeg’s highest income area as its lowest, with a difference of just over $36,000. Dwelling conditions have improved across the city since 2000, but inequalities remain.
  • Public Transit Use dropped from 2019 (68.83 transit trips per capita) to 2020 (34.57 transit trips per capita), as COVID-19 restrictions caused more Winnipeggers to work and learn from home.

To bring further context and an important human element to the data, the Voluntary Local Review also incorporates real stories from Winnipeg organizations that work daily on the front lines to build a more sustainable and inclusive city. Featured organizations include Make Poverty History Manitoba, NorWest Co-op Community Health, Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, CEDA: Community Education Development Association, End Homelessness Winnipeg, Mama Bear Clan and The Winnipeg Foundation, among others.

View/download the Winnipeg and the SDGs: A Voluntary Local Review of Progress 2021.

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