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Vital Signs report finds a third of North Simcoe students suffering mental-health issues

Huronia Community Foundation report also notes region's low-paying jobs, low median annual income of $38,500 means families are struggling to cope
Huronia Community Foundation launching Vital Signs report Wednesday.

A vital tool in assessing the region’s future prosperity and ongoing challenges is being released later today.

Conducted by the Huronia Community Foundation and being officially released at the Midland Public Library at 5 p.m., this year’s North Simcoe and Area’s Vital Signs Report uses data collected from Statistics Canada, community surveys and contributions from 80 local organizations.

The report serves to identify the challenges, which undermine the quality of life and future prosperity of all North Simcoe residents. It also lays out how local charities, businesses and government are working together to try to make the region better for everyone. 

One of the report’s key recommendations is a call to action for residents, community organizations, businesses and municipalities.

“It’s imperative that the community come together to find solutions to the dilemmas of having too many unfilled jobs while working families continue to struggle because adequate housing is too expensive or unavailable”, Huronia Community Foundation president Don McCready said.

At the same time, businesses and organizations said that they are having trouble attracting workers at the pay levels they are able to offer.

“Working families who can earn enough to pay for their housing and other necessities while also allowing them to build for the future helps ensure the long-term physical and mental health of residents and vibrancy of the North Simcoe community,” McCready said.

“This will also attract newcomers which will enhance the economic health of our businesses and other organizations.”

The report noted that while there are many people working hard to make the region a better place, they need help. That report’s call to action is get residents involved by contributing and connecting with the North Simcoe community to develop innovative solutions to these problems while minimizing the environmental effects of economic growth. 

“Our community is generous and resilient with many residents and organizations contributing so that North Simcoe continues to be a great place to live and raise a family, but more needs to be done to ensure a brighter future,” says McCready.

Here are some of the key findings from Huronia Community Foundation’s 2023 Vital Signs Report.

  • There is an abundance of unfilled jobs in North Simcoe, many of which do not come with a living wage.
  • Many working families are challenged to pay for housing and other necessities and worry about losing their homes as the cost of living continues to increase and there are few housing alternatives. 20% of resident respondents to the HCF survey are struggling to make ends meet
  • The median annual income of North Simcoe residents is about $38,500; rent for a one bedroom is well over $1,000 per month, when available. The average house price approaches $700,000.
  • Homelessness is a chronic problem to which the lack of affordable housing contributes.
  • A significant proportion of the North Simcoe population (22.5%) are experiencing mental illness, a situation made worse by the pandemic.
  • 31% of school-age students in Simcoe Muskoka report having fair or poor mental health, with more than two times as many females than males reporting this condition. 

Vital Signs is a community check-up that measures the vitality of our communities and identifies significant trends in a range of areas critical to quality of life. Vital Signs is coordinated nationally by Community Foundations of Canada. 

To find out more about the report and the data behind it, click here.

Huronia Community Foundation is a registered charity established in 2000 and is governed under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

HCF builds and manages endowment and other funds to support charities in the geographic area including the municipalities of Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay, Tiny, Christian Island, Georgian Bay Township, Elmvale, Wasaga Beach and Collingwood.

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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country‚Äôs most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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