June 30, 1999 -- The Quality of Life in Halton has improved in 1998 over previous years, but it has not fully recovered from the difficulties of the early 1990s. This is a result of a growing "social deficit." This deficit reflects the failure of our community and society to care for its vulnerable populations. It refers to not only the immediate consequences of unmet basic needs, such as hunger and homelessness, but also the long-term damage it inflicts, especially on the life chances of children. This is the trend revealed by the Halton Quality of Life Index of 1998.
This report is the second in the series on The Quality of Life in Halton, which is published by the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre as part of a province-wide initiative. The Council is using the Quality of Life Index (QLI) as a tool to measure and monitor changes in living and working conditions that affect the quality of life in our communities. The QLI is also a tool to contribute to community dialogue about important issues. There are twenty community partners across Ontario involved in the Quality of Life Index project, using the QLI to measure changes in their local communities. The most recent provincial report was released on June 9, 1999, which shows a provincial score of 99.9, but the Halton QLI still remains 12 points below the 1990 benchmark with a score of 88.
Moving beyond the 1990 benchmark, Halton's main areas of progress are the environmental indicators, one health indicator, one social indicator and one economic indicator. There are setbacks where we have yet to reach our 1990 QLI in important areas such as social assistance caseloads, child welfare, long term care, new cancer cases, and bankruptcies.
A social deficit has emerged in the '90s because of changes in public policies and the effects of the globalization of the economy. "The short term fiscal gains made by governments through cuts in public services have dramatically influenced the well-being of the vulnerable groups most affected by these negative social trends -- children, the elderly, and the poor, who are mainly women and children. The gradual economic recovery is not being matched by a social recovery," says Ted Hildebrandt, author of the Halton report.
Our quality of life has been the subject of public debate from many different points of view this spring. The trends and issues we have identified through the Quality of Life Index provide a basis for raising issues of public policy for attention by the newly elected provincial government.
The full report is available by contacting the office.
For More Information Contact:
Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court, Burlington, ON L7N 3N4
Tel: 905-632-1975, 905-878-0955