Help shape the next Vital Signs report!

Every year, Toronto Foundation puts out a Vital Signs Report, compiled from current statistics and studies, serving as an ongoing consolidated snapshot of the trends and issues affecting quality of life in our city.

For 2019, we pulled out the highlights of each section of the report for a 10-part blog series:

The Foundation has has just launched a survey to inform the next Vital Signs Report, which will be focused on the impacts of COVID.

The survey should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It is intended for staff, volunteers, and board members at charities and nonprofits with substantial operations in Toronto. The survey is open to both organizations that are currently operating and those that have shut down.

These reports are widely read by policymakers, organizations, and philanthropists. The goal is to highlight areas and gaps to better inform these stakeholders.

10 ways to improve Black experiences in health care

Infographic for Developing Principles for Collecting & Acting On Data For Black Communities

As a result of media coverage of COVID-19, important conversations are happening about the need for Canada to begin to collect race-based health data.

Since 2000, CSI member Black Health Alliance has been working in partnership with Black communities, health and social service providers, and governments to improve the health and well being of Black populations. Produced in partnership with the Health Commons Solution Lab, their recent Black Experiences in Health Care Symposium brought together voices from Black communities, activists, health system leaders, and allies.

The report coming out of that gathering offers ten actionable steps for a more equitable health system with better outcomes for Black Ontarians:

  1. Require all publicly funded government agencies and health service providers to be held accountable for
    • Collection and application of race-based data
    • Measuring, improving and publicly reporting on care and outcomes of Black Ontarians
    • Including Black leadership at all levels including governance, senior and middle management, and advisory committees.
  2. Ensure race-based data collection spans across the continuum of care to improve data quality, analysis, and the opportunity to positively impact the lives and outcomes of Black communities.
  3. Partner with large health data and information entities to help support race-based data collection and utilization.
  4. Standardize and mandate anti-Black racism, anti-oppression, and decolonization training for health care providers, professionals, leaders, and health system planners.
  5. Create accessible and culturally competent mental health services throughout the province for all Black people and their communities.
  6. Expand funding to create more integrated services that support the families and loved ones of Black people experiencing mental illness.
  7. Establish a mechanism to routinely monitor and assess diversity in health system leadership throughout the province.
  8. Improve communication with Black communities on the purpose and use of the data that is being collected from them.
  9. Create paid positions and roles for community trust builders in health provider organizations who help navigate the relationships between the community and health system.
  10. Develop a Black-led strategy for identifying Black representatives for provincial/regional community engagement opportunities in health care, and develop engagement practices and methods that reflect the diversity within Black communities.

To read the full report, download the PDF here.


How are Canadians coping with COVID-19?

Without current and reliable information, no levels of government will be able to effectively assess what our communities need. This is especially true in these unprecedented times.

Getting a sense of how people across the country are coping with COVID-19 is crucial for identifying and implementing suitable support measures during and after the pandemic.

So these strange times, you can do something important for your family, friends, neighbours and community. Take five minutes to participate in Statistic Canada’s data collection on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians.

Here is some of the data this survey has revealed so far:

  • Unemployment increased by 413,000 (36.4%) largely due to temporary layoffs
  • This is the largest increase since comparable data became available in 1976
  • 35% of Canadian workers worry that they might lose their job or self-employment income in the next month
  • 41% of youth aged 15 to 24 feel insecure about their continued employment
  • 29% of Canadians say COVID-19 is having an impact on their ability to meet essential expenses
  • 47% of Canadians reported that COVID-19 is having little to no impact on their finances
  • 24% of Canadians report that it is too soon to tell how it will go for them
  • Canadians feeling financial impacts of COVID-19 are twice as likely to also report poor mental health

Further data has been collected into this infographic:


CSI knows physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social distancing, so we are here for you – now more than ever – with the support you need.

Ontario’s nonprofits and charities are facing a triple threat

A small plant growing from an old tree trunk.

In addition to the disorienting reality of navigating change-making during a pandemic, Ontario’s nonprofits and charities are also facing:

  1. An abrupt loss of revenue from the cancellation of fundraising events and a steep drop-off in donations
  2. The closure of offices and cancellation of programs and services due to pandemic restrictions
  3. Unprecedented human resource challenges in terms of both paid staff and volunteers.

To track the real-life impact of these challenges, The Ontario Nonprofit Network conducted a flash survey to examine how organizations across Ontario are dealing with COVID-19.

Here are some of the key findings.


    • Over three-quarters of respondents have experienced disruption of services to clients and communities
    • Almost one in five nonprofits have closed their doors – at least for now -because of the pandemic or are making plans to do so.


    • Close to 75 per cent of respondents have seen reduced revenue from fundraising, with the hard-hit arts sector reporting an 81 per cent reduction in ticket and event sales
    • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will cost 43% of organizations between $50,000 and $249,999 each. Another 10% estimate the financial impact to be $1 million or more.


  • Nonprofits are experiencing staff and volunteer absences of 35% due to concerns about contagion in doing their work.
  • Many respondents from nonprofits performing essential services — including community health organizations and long-term care homes — commented on a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • One third of respondents indicated that their organization has either reduced hours for workers or laid off staff. The pandemic has been particularly devastating for workers in arts and culture, sports and recreation, child care, and nonprofit social enterprises


  • Social services: 93% of respondents have experienced or anticipate a disruption in service to clients and community
  • Employment and training: 48% have laid off or will have to lay off staff
  • Arts and culture: There has been an 81% reduction in ticket and event sales
  • Social enterprises: Courier, catering, and retail social enterprises that often employ people with barriers to the labour market have closed their doors for the duration
  • Health: 31% have resources to sustain their organizations for only the next three to six months, while 38% are unsure how long their resources will last because of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and its effects on physical and mental health


Read the full report here.