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Whether for planning programs and services, or developing policies, timely, accurate information is critical. Likewise, an understanding of the historical context of social issues is critical to the development of effective strategies for positive social change.
Presenting data in a single source, such as Tracking the Trends, permits us to see the trends in the context of other social changes occurring simultaneously. For example, the Consumer Price Index and average rents have risen at a more rapid rate than Alberta Works benefits. This means an erosion of living standards for vulnerable Albertans relying on these benefits.
Most Canadian publications present data at the national or provincial level. Tracking the Trends includes primarily Edmonton-level data. This makes it a useful tool for people working on social issues in Edmonton and the surrounding region.
A Tool for the Public
Edmontonians’ awareness of social issues is critical to improving the inclusiveness of our communities. A better understanding of the challenges our fellow citizens face can affect the way we think of and treat each other. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all share this city and region, and have an interest in its healthy future.
A Tool for Decision-Makers
For a planner or policy maker, this collection of data provides a clearer understanding of the current and historical social conditions in Edmonton. This information can provide the background necessary to make informed decisions, and even the insight needed to anticipate future changes.
We encourage readers to use Tracking the Trends to assess how well all levels of government are fulfilling their role in ensuring citizens have the support they need to maintain a decent standard of living.
A Tool for Social Organizations and Researchers
The work of organizations involved in social development activities must be informed by the current and historical context. The information in Tracking the Trends will prove useful for program planning, organizational strategy-building, as well as other community development activities.
Students and researchers will also benefit from this rich and unified source of data to inform their research projects. Such in-depth research is important for expanding our knowledge of specific issues and informing social policy development.