Economic Progress Blemished by Health and Environmental Concerns
June 22, 2000 — The quality of life in Halton has risen, according to the latest figures from the Quality of Life Index (QLI), published by the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre. But the Council warns that progress on the economic and social front is being undermined by worsening health and environmental problems.
This is the third in a series on The Quality of Life in Halton, which is published by the Council as part of a province-wide initiative. The Council uses the QLI to monitor changes in social, economic, health and environmental conditions that affect the quality of life in our communities. The latest figures show that the 1999 QLI has risen to 94.3, up from 85.2 in 1998. The QLI remains below the benchmark of 100 established in 1990.
While there is good news from the economic and social indicators, the health indicators continue to lag behind, led by the continuation of large waiting lists for long term care beds. The environmental indicators have been a fairly positive component of the Halton QLI during the 1990s, although the recent trend in declining air quality is troubling. With all the recent attention given to the quality of the environment, this area bears close monitoring.
There has been progress in some areas – lower rates of bankruptcies, fewer toxic spills, fewer low birth weight babies and reduced unemployment. There also have been setbacks – poorer air quality, more elderly waiting for long term care placements and continuing high, yet declining, social assistance caseloads. While there is reason for celebrating our progress, we must also renew our efforts to address the areas in which we have setbacks.
“We have seen strong economic growth in Halton, as well as some recovery in our social deficit,” said Ted Hildebrandt, Senior Social Planner at the Council and author of the Halton report. “However, health and environmental issues will continue to be at the forefront of public debate. Our quality of life in Halton will not advance in the 21st century unless we solve these problems.”
The report is also available by contacting the office.
For More Information Contact:
Ted Hildebrandt, Senior Planner
Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court, Burlington, ON L7N 3N4
Tel: 905-632-1975, 905-878-0955