Last week the Edmonton Social Planning Council released their 14th edition of Tracking the Trends (TTT), a report that provides critical social and economic data that are integral to providing guidance for EndPovertyEdmonton’s poverty elimination strategy. Having the current socio-economic trends presented at a municipal level helps all of us working together to end poverty understand what the conditions look like in our community and highlights areas where we need to focus our work.
The Tracking the Trends report also supports EndPovertyEdmonton’s commitment to evidence-based decision making about policy and program directions. It enables us to identify trends that warrant further investigation so we can work effectively with our partners to streamline research agendas.
In application, Edmonton Social Planning Council’s TTT report highlights the fact that Edmonton is still experiencing an all-time high level of people who are receiving Employment Insurance benefits. We know that employment and training initiatives that enable people to find jobs that pay a living wage are critical. Similarly, the TTT report demonstrates that 1 in 5 Edmonton workers earn below the $16.31 living wage. Simply put, even people working full time are not earning enough to stay afloat. This is why action on livable incomes is a Game Changer in the work to end poverty. EndPovertyEdmonton has also heard troubling messages from the community that Edmontonians are not getting enough to eat. The TTT confirms for us that food insecurity is steadily getting worse in Edmonton. Food bank usage went up yet again in 2017 to 23,181 people, which is a 17% increase over the year before. Action must – and is – happening to improve food security in Edmonton.
As one can surmise from the three examples above, there are so many applications for the data presented in TTT as it relates to EndPovertyEdmonton work. We will continue to look to Edmonton Social Planning Council for leadership in the area of local population level indicator reporting and analysis as the community advances the Road Map to end poverty in Edmonton.