The Victoria Foundation’s Vital Signs report was released Thursday, painting a picture of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on B.C.’s capital city.
The annual report measures the vitality of the region, illustrating areas of progress and identifying concerns each year. The 15th annual report follows a year of unprecedented proportions, with the coronavirus pandemic both revealing issues and inequalities and bringing the community together.
This year, 1,793 residents contributed to the report, assigning grades to 12 key issue areas and answering questions about quality of life, happiness and connection to community. Respondents made more than 12,000 comments on issue areas. Most areas – such as arts and culture, belonging and engagement, safety, health and wellness, and standard of living – received a B or B- rating. But housing and ‘getting started,’ a category about newcomers and young people, received D+ ratings, both of those are down from 2019, when getting started received a B- rating and housing a C-.
The majority of participants – 60 per cent – rated their sense of mental well-being as high but 43 per cent reported a decline in their enjoyment of work, 51 per cent said their savings or investments had worsened and 33 per cent had their income worsen.
More than half of the survey-takers – 58 per cent – are concerned about contracting COVID-19 themselves, while 78 per cent are concerned about friends or family getting sick with the virus.
While fear and loss is a common theme with COVID-19, 55 per cent of respondents feel that their appreciation of what is most in important in life has improved and 83 per cent feel their ability to pay bills has remained the same or improved.
Participants rated natural environment one of the best things about Greater Victoria – echoing 2019 participants and followed again by climate, air quality and walkability.
Of those who participated, 38 per cent were not employed – with 77 per cent of the the non-employed respondents retired, 10 per cent unemployed and five per cent students. The rest were either unpaid family caregivers or on disability allowance.
Of the total respondents, 13 per cent worked in the non-profit or charity sector, 27 per cent in the private sector and 22 per cent in the government or public sector. The biggest age bracket of respondents – 25 per cent – were between 65 and 98 years old.
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