City of Toronto comments on FCM Quality of Life Report|
| || ||
Community & Neighbourhood Services -- Today, the Federation of
Canadian Municipalities released its second report on the quality of life in
Canadian communities. Toronto, along with 17 other municipalities, has worked
with the FCM to produce a set of nationally consistent and locally relevant
indicators of municipal quality of life.
"This most comprehensive analysis of trends in our cities shows that the
quality of life is deteriorating rapidly for those at the lower end of the
economic spectrum in most cities across Canada. The project was initiated by
Canada's Big City Mayors to document the effects of federal withdrawal from
such key areas as affordable housing and social support programs. Their worst
fears would appear to be confirmed by the data," said Toronto City Councillor
Jack Layton, first vice president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Brad Duguid, chair of the City's Task Force on Community Safety and the
Community Services Committee, responded to the FCM report by saying, "The
report's community safety data shows the progress that has been made in some
areas of crime and confirms that Toronto is a safe city. While this may be good
news overall, it only reiterates the need to continue our community-based crime
Shirley Hoy, commissioner of the City of Toronto's Community and Neighbourhood
Services, said, "The Quality of Life report is unique. Its findings represent a
snapshot of the quality of life affecting eight indicators in 18 communities
across Canada. Although further analysis of this data will be required, it will
be considered within the various social monitoring mechanisms the City is
undertaking, such as the Social Development Strategy and the State of the City
The FCM quality of life reporting system will continue to document data that
enables municipalities to compare their progress over time. This provides
municipalities with the necessary information to better inform senior levels of
government as to the state of their cities.
Key findings of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' 2001 Quality of
Life Report for the City of Toronto
As of 1998, Toronto had a population of 2.5 million people. Population growth
for Toronto between 1991 and 1998 was 6.8 per cent, 1.9 per cent growth between
1996 and 1998. The City is experiencing somewhat the same trend in growth as
Canada as a whole.
1996 census data indicates that 37.0 per cent of Toronto's population are
visible minorities and 47.6 per cent of the population are foreign-born
Toronto ranked third among 16 cities with respect to the level of visible
minorities as a percentage of its population. The City stood first in
Migration: Toronto continues to be the international reception centre of
Canada. Slightly more than a quarter of a million immigrants (273,179) from
other countries claimed Toronto as their home between 1994 and 1999. The city
is simultaneously losing people to the outlying communities (203,426).
Education: 12.2 per cent of Toronto's total 1996 population had less than Grade
9 education levels, which is considered a measure of illiteracy, with a further
20.1 per cent having some high school education. However, 20.5 per cent had a
university degree, with a further 11.3 per cent having some university
education and 20.5 per cent having some other non-university education.
Community Affordability: Community affordability is defined as the ratio of
income levels to the local cost of living. Community affordability in Toronto
fell from 1.01 in 1992 to .84 in 1998 (a 16.8 per cent decrease) for all
households. In comparison with other cities, Toronto stood 17th out of 18
cities in 1998 for its affordability, dropping from 13th out of 16 cities
measured in 1992.
Income: The population in the lowest percentile (10 percentile) sustained the
greatest loss in family income (all sources), losing 31.1 per cent of its
income between 1992 and 1996 (using 1998 dollar value data that factors in the
cost of inflation); between 1996 and 1998, this population increased its income
by 1.6 per cent.
The population in the highest percentile (90 percentile) lost 1.4 per cent of
family income between 1992 and 1996, but gained 6.3 per cent between 1996 and
All percentiles gained in family income between 1996 and 1998.
Historically, government transfers as a source of income for Toronto residents
decreased, falling from 14.5 per cent in 1992 to 9.3 per cent in 1996 (5.2 per
Quality of Employment
Employment: The total number of Torontonians employed rose for all age
categories between 1998 and 1999 (1997 figures were unavailable), however, the
nature of employment, between 1997 and 1999 changed in that permanent
employment fell while temporary employment rose.
The greatest drop in permanent employment occurred for the 15 to 24 year olds,
decreasing by 10.6 percentage points. However, this same age cohort gained 12.6
percentage points in temporary employment.
Unemployment: Since 1998 the unemployment rate has fallen from 14.3 per cent to
11.3 per cent for 15 to 24 years olds and to 5.6 per cent for those 25 and up.
In comparison with 17 other cities, Toronto had the fourth highest unemployment
rate for 15 to 24 year olds in 1998. During the same time, Toronto had the
fifth highest unemployment rate for 15 to 39 year olds. For 40+ years, Toronto
had the third highest unemployment rate in 1998 and the highest in 1996.
Quality of Housing
Affordability of housing continues to be a key obstacle for Toronto residents.
The average rent of a two-bedroom apartment as a percentage of the median
income remained high for a single person (52.6 per cent) in 1998; for families,
it was 20.8 per cent.
In comparison with 13 other cities, Toronto was found to be the second most
expensive place to rent for both single people and families in 1998. This has
worsened slightly since 1996.
The average housing price of single family dwellings increased between 1996 and
1999 by 13.2 per cent (from $198,150 to $228,372). Toronto stood fourth out of
17 cities as the most expensive for single family dwellings.
Those spending more than 30 per cent of their household income on rental
housing increased substantially by 12.4 per cent points between 1991 and 1996
(from 32.4 to 44.8 per cent).
Toronto stood sixth in 1998 as having a greater percentage of households
spending more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter costs (out of 16
cities). In 1991,Toronto stood 11th in this category. This shows the declining
affordability of rental accommodation in the City.
Toronto held first spot (out of 15 cities) for substandard units as a
percentage of total occupied private dwellings, at 9.1 per cent in 1996.
Lone-parent families: The percentage of lone-parent families residing in
Toronto in 1998 was 15.5 per cent in 1998. Toronto stood 11th (out of 18
cities) in the percentage of lone-parent families.
Low-income families: The percentage of low-income families residing in Toronto
increased between 1991 and 1996 by 6.6 per cent points, from 12.0 to 18.6 per
cent. Toronto had the second highest percentage of low-income families in 1996
(out of 14 cities).
Teen fertility rates: Rates in Toronto have decreased by 28.9 per cent between
1991 and 1997. Toronto has maintained its 12th standing (out of 18 cities) in
the category of highest teen fertility rates.
Suicide rates: There was no change for Toronto in its suicide rates, standing
at 8.5 for both 1991 and 1997.
Bankruptcies: Toronto experienced a 25 per cent decline in the rate of
businesses declaring bankruptcy, dropping from eight per 1000 establishments in
1991 to six in 1999. In consumer bankruptcies, Toronto showed a 30.8 per cent
decline in the rate, dropping from 2.6 in 1991 to 1.8 in 1999.
911 Crisis Calls: The number of 911 crisis calls made between 1996 and 1999
have decreased by 4.7 per cent (from 786,246 to 749,579), however, they
increased significantly (by 8.4 per cent) between 1996 and 1998.
Infant mortality: Rates decreased by 8.5 per cent between 1991 and 1997 (from
7.1 to 6.5). In comparison to 18 other cities, Toronto stood fourth highest in
mortality rates in 1997.
Low birth weights: Low birth weights are measured as the percentage of single
births less than 2,500 grams to total single births. These percentages rose
minimally between 1992 and 1998. However, in 1998, Toronto stood first (out of
18 cities) in the highest percentage of low birth weights. In 1992, the City
Premature mortality: Crude premature mortality rates (defined as mortality
before age 75) increased by 6.9 per cent between 1991 and 1997 (from 461.35 to
493.38). In 1997, Toronto stood fifth (out of 18 cities).
Crime rates: Between 1986 and 1998, safety has generally improved in Toronto:
39 per cent decrease in the rate of charges of young offenders, and 28 per cent
decrease in property crime rates
The only exception was a 14 per cent increase in the violent crime rate.
In a comparison of more recent times (1996 to 1998), however, Toronto has faced
a 14 per cent increase in charges of youth offenders 5.6 per cent increase in
the violent crime rate, and 20 per cent decrease in the property crime rate.
In comparison with other cities, Toronto's 1998 rates for charges of young
offenders were relatively low (standing 12th out of 18 cities measured),
mid-ground for violent crime (ninth) and third from the bottom (16th) for
property crime rates.
Voter participation: Voter participation in Toronto has decreased significantly
in the federal elections from approximately 67 per cent in both 1993 and 1997,
to 56 per cent in 2000.
Voter participation in municipal elections has fallen dramatically, with a high
of 51 per cent in the 1997 election that determined the new amalgamated Toronto
City Council, dropping to 38 per cent in 2000.
Charitable donations: Charitable donations have increased over the years:
Average donations rose from $820 to $1,273 per donor in the period 1995 to 1998.
Donations per tax filer rose from $220 to $331 for the same period.
On a per capita basis, Toronto donations to the United Way increased from
$18.46 in 1991 to $25.15 in 1999.
In comparison with the other cities, Toronto donors gave the most to the United
Way in 1999 with $63.1 million, however, on a per capita basis Toronto stood
third out of 18 cities for donations.
Recycling: Community participation in recycling was measured by the weight of
collected recyclable goods. Toronto experienced an 8.5 per cent increase in
participation, from 94 kilograms collected in 1996 to 102 in 1999. In
comparison with 18 other cities, Toronto stood third in recycling participation.
Newspaper circulation: The proportion of total households receiving daily
newspapers has dropped from 35.2 per cent in 1995 to 33.8 per cent in 1999.
Toronto stood last (out of 18 cities) in newspaper circulation.