YMCA of Greater Toronto - Wellesley Institute Research Highlights Need for Social and Economic Inclusion

October 03, 2018

The YMCA of Greater Toronto, in partnership with the Wellesley Institute, today released the first detailed report of well-being in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Called Life in the GTA: A Window on Well-being, the report is the first research to provide perspectives on well-being at the local GTA neighbourhood level.

“This research shows that there are important variations in well-being at the neighbourhood level across the GTA – with the City of Toronto having the lowest scores,” said Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO, Wellesley Institute. “It suggests we must foster better mental and physical health, help people feel like they belong, support opportunities to improve levels of education and employment, support immigrants, provide access to more child care programs and increase acceptance for racialized and LGBTQ2S+ community members.”

“It provides us with a baseline that we can use to monitor patterns in well-being across GTA neighbourhoods over time,” said Medhat Mahdy, President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto. “We will use the report to better understand how place-based services can better support well-being and inform the YMCA’s strategy of bringing more programs to more people across the GTA.”

The research found that people have higher well-being when they have a job and income to support their families, and when they feel they belong. Similarly, people who are active and who give back through volunteering also report higher levels of well-being.

Well-being is defined as feeling good and functioning well. The report looks at people in our communities who are struggling, and those who report higher levels of well-being. More than 8,000 residents of the GTA were surveyed by Forum Research.

A second report, produced by the Y and released today, found strong evidence to suggest that in neighourhoods where there’s a YMCA, there’s better well-being for everyone, not just those individuals who use YMCA programs and services.

“Thanks to YMCA programs and services, people have better general and mental health and a stronger sense of belonging,” added Mahdy who addresses increasing violence in our communities and ways to reverse the trend at a Canadian Club luncheon speech today. “Where there’s a YMCA, there is less opportunity for the risk factors for violence to exist.”

The reports are available at ymcagta.org/research.

For more information contact:
Sarah Soteroff, Veritas Communications/YMCA of Greater Toronto
soteroff@veritasinc.com | T: 416-955-4574 | M: 416-838-0077

Michael Torres, Director of Communications, Wellesley Institute
michael@wellesleyinstitute.com | T: 416-972-1010 ext. 230 | M: 647-828-0508

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto
For well over a century, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has provided leadership and worked with partners solving complex social problems to create real, measurable outcomes that have strengthened the social health and fabric of communities. As a charity, the YMCA offers a variety of programs responding to the needs of the community, including education and training, employment and immigrant services, family and youth services, health and fitness programs, child care and camps. Serving the population of Toronto, Durham, Peel, York, Halton and Dufferin County, last year the YMCA made more than 500,000 community connections across 440 locations.

About the Wellesley Institute
The Wellesley Institute works in research and policy to improve health and health equity in the GTA through action on the social determinants of health. It works to advance population health and reduce health inequities by driving change on the so¬cial determinants of health through applied research, effective policy solutions, knowledge mobilization, and innovation. www.wellesleyinstitute.com