Medicine Hat Media

Vital Signs 2010

The Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta released the fourth annual 2010 Vital Signs report, giving Hatters more insight into their community.

The reader-friendly report card tracks and grades Medicine Hat’s quality of life in key areas such as the gap between rich and poor, health, housing, and the environment – transforming local facts and figures into a user-friendly comprehensive report.

“Vital Signs is truly a community publication,” said Les Erickson, chair of the Community Foundation and chair of the Foundation’s community leadership committee. “From the people who provide us with their local statistics to the hundreds of people who spend time grading the indicators, this report is certainly all about Medicine Hat.”

Vital Signs is used year-round by the Community Foundation to assist in its grant giving and community leadership activities, Erickson said.

“The information and knowledge this publication provides enables us to be better grant-makers. Additionally, it positively affects our community leadership functions and we can therefore impact the community on a greater level.”

This year’s report shows that, while Hatters have a stronger sense of community belonging than most Albertans, we have higher physician claim rates for mental illnesses.

The report also found several indicators of a weakened economy. The Medicine Hat region’s unemployment average is higher than the Alberta average. Also, people collecting employment insurance saw a 208.1% increase from the 2008 average.

The Community Foundation introduced a youth section in this year’s report, a trend for many Community Foundations.

“Census statistics show that there are 1.4 youth for every senior in Medicine Hat, and the Foundation was anxious to explore this area,” said Mike Christie, executive director of the Community Foundation. “We look forward to even more interaction with this important part of our population in the future.”

Vital Signs staff surveyed local teens and found issues such as youth unemployment, binge drinking and meal time with families were hot button issues. Statistics to answer the surveyed group’s queries are listed and the indicators were then graded by both adults and youth.

The report will be formally presented to the community on Thursday, October 7 at a community luncheon. The event will take place from 12-1:30 in Chinook Village’s Terrace Room. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased through the Foundation office or by calling (403) 527-9038. A panel of local media members will comment on the report, followed by open discussion time for community members in attendance.

Vital Signs: Fifteen Local Reports Released Today

Vital Signs is part of a growing nation-wide initiative by Canadian community foundations to measure quality of life and take action to improve it. Today, 15 local Vital Signs report cards are being released by community foundations across Canada. A full list of this year’s participants and their local reports can be found at

Watch for the release of the Vital Signs 2010 National Public Opinion Survey, commissioned by Community Foundations of Canada and conducted by the Environics Research Group, on Monday, October 18.

Vital Activity

Vital Activity is the “so what of Vital Signs.  It will provide advice and pointers about the questions raised by Vital Signs.  Questions like “So what’s next?” or “What can I do?” and “How can the Community Foundation contribute?”  Throughout Vital Signs 2010 there are suggested Vital Activities that everyone can undertake.

Vital Activity is featured in a number of Community Foundation publications and profiles people, programs and projects that enhance the quality of life in Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta.

“Vital Activity demonstrates the very valuable contribution that organizations, governments and individuals make for the well being of our community,” said Christie. “Vital activities are like the pieces of a jigsaw; when combined, the whole picture makes sense. Our job, with the help of our supporters and donors, is to make sure there are no important pieces of the picture missing.”

About Community Foundations

Canada’s 170 community foundations are local charitable foundations that help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work, and play. They are one of the largest supporters of Canadian charities, providing $140 million to local organizations in 2009. Find out more at

Community Foundation of Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta

The local community foundation covers the entire Southeastern region of Alberta and was founded in 1992.  Over the past 18 years assets have grown to over $6 million.  The foundation operates a comprehensive grant making program that has resulted in over $2.5 million in charitable grants to a wide range of local charities.  Funding requests from local agencies always heavily outweigh the available funds.  The Community Foundation strongly encourages the support of caring local citizens to help build permanent endowments to keep pace with the needs of our rapidly changing communities.

Note to editors/producers: All 15 Vital Signs reports, and media contacts for participating community foundations, can be found at An expanded and linked version of Medicine Hat’s Vital Signs® can be found at

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