Community Vital Signs

Vital Signs is locally led by community foundations and used by residents, businesses, community organizations, universities and colleges and government leaders to learn about community needs, take action and direct resources where they will have the greatest impact.

First started by the Toronto Foundation in 2001, Vital Signs has now been activated in over 85 communities in Canada to mobilize the power of community knowledge for greater local impact.

Community foundations participating in Vital Signs conduct research on a broad range of community issues including (but not limited to) sense of belonging, inequity in the community, levels of poverty, access to arts and culture, environment, local employment and more. Vital Signs is responsive to topics of interest and concern at the local community level, and topics will vary between communities.

Community foundations use Vital Signs to learn more about their community to ensure they are responsive to vital community needs and incorporate the knowledge gained through Vital Signs into the strategic direction of the foundation. Vital Signs allows for evidence-based decision making and can be used to track community progress over time.

Community foundations can engage in the Vital Signs program through a written report, and/or through Vital Conversations.

Vital Signs reports

Vital Signs reports are a compilation of data and community research around key issue areas and are used to measure the vitality of our communities. Community foundations gather data and write Vital Signs reports to spark conversation about significant social and economic trends to tell the story of how Canadian communities are faring in key quality-of-life areas.Vital Signs reports may focus on a single topic, or they may be longer and provide oversight to a broad range of community themes and issues.

Vital Signs reports are launched in Canada and around the world throughout the first week of October each year. Current and past publications of Canadian Vital Signs reports are available on our Community Vital Signs report page organized by year and community.

Vital Conversations

A Vital Conversation is a facilitated community discussion led by a community foundation designed to learn more about the social and economic trends impacting local quality of life. The conversations are often used as a starting point to identify local priorities and mobilize a community into action.

Vital Conversations can serve as a springboard to strengthen local relationships and develop new partnerships. Vital Conversations are a great starting point to getting engaged in the Vital Signs program.

How to get involved

Community foundations, leaders and groups interested in exploring how to get involved in the Vital Signs program may contact Alison Sidney, Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives with Community Foundations of Canada.