Vital Signs is Canada’s most extensive community-driven data program. Vital Signs is spearheaded by Community Foundations of Canada and led by community foundations in Canada and around the world. More than 65 community foundations in Canada and 41 around the world take part, producing Vital Signs reports, hosting “Vital conversations” and more.
Vital Signs uses local knowledge to measure the vitality of a community and support action towards improving collective quality of life. Local data gathered through the program is used to support evidence-based, locally-relevant solutions to improve the quality of life at the community level. Vital Signs aims to inspire civic engagement, to provide focus for public debate, and to help a range of actors take action and direct resources where they will have the greatest impact.
CFC’s role in the program, among other things, is to provide Canadian community foundations access to national data sets, which foundations typically complement with local surveys, public programming and events that mobilize community knowledge and help identify local priorities. From housing, to transit, to safety, the environment, the arts and gender equality, the reports offer invaluable insights across more than 70 indicators of quality of life at the community level.
Since 2017, we have also begun to align our national data sets with Agenda 2030, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG framework allows us as well as community foundations to measure local Canadian data against common global indicators and that of communities around the world.