Measuring the External Costs of Poverty in Sault Ste. Marie
CQI has released our detailed report detailing the impact of poverty on our local economy health care and education institutions. To download the PDF report on how poverty impacts the economy please click here.
Community Performance Report
The 2008 Community Performance Report, a comprehensive study of our communty's quality of life, is now available under "Publications". Click here to access the full report.
Health & Fitness in the Worplace Conference -- Review
Click here to access the full report.
Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
CQI strives to improve the quality of life in Sault Ste. Marie while maintaining a commitment to sustainable development.
We live in a society where the accumulation of wealth is still considered to be a commendable goal. This, despite the fact that there is a growing amount of research and anecdotal information that proves this kind of lifestyle is not sustainable. Surprisingly, few of us have whole-heartedly accepted the challenge to change, and adopt a more balanced way of living.
The idea of sustainability is well known, but it has not reached people’s hearts and souls. We believe we can achieve a high quality of life by combining sustainable development with a fulfilling work/life balance.
What We Do
CQI has taken a leading role in Sault Ste. Marie to improve community well being. Our vision is that “Sault Ste. Marie is internationally recognized as an attractive, vibrant and diversified community that fosters pride, and is passionately committed to building an extraordinary quality of life, and sustaining its natural beauty".
Working with community partners, CQI conducts local research in seven areas:
- social wellbeing
These seven components do not function independently of one another; they are interlinked, each being equally important to the vibrancy of our community.
Using sustainability indicators developed by the community, we collect quantitative and qualitative data at the local level. We invite the community to participate in discussion around the research findings to determine where we are, where we are going, and most importantly, where we want to go.
Turning Research into Action
Through the Agenda for Action, community members identify areas that require improvement, establish community goals, and implement changes at a policy and grassroots level that improve quality of life and reinforce sustainable development practices. This is a fully participatory process; we call on all members of the Sault Ste. Marie community to share their ideas and energy, working together to make the necessary changes to achieve our collective vision.
Through our professional development workshops, experienced facilitators train institutions and individuals on the principles of “continuous quality improvement”. Continuous improvement is based on simple concept: plan –do – check - act. The cycle is ongoing, as there is always room for improvement.
Our approach favours "better" (quality) over "more" (quantity). It recognizes that sustainable community development is not a linear process, with a beginning and an end. It also reinforces the notion that plans must be put in to action, and those actions checked against agreed upon goals. Those goals, in turn, must reflect the current realities facing our community. Quality of life issues will change as societies evolve; the real challenge to a sustained quality of life comes in being adaptive to those changes and ensuring your actions have real value to citizens.
We believe real change to improve and sustain our collective quality of life will ultimately be made at the local level, through local research and local action. International, national and regional indicators research is important, but as more and more communities take on the challenge of addressing local quality of life issues, a real balance will be struck between the high level research and the grassroots programs, each benefitting from the other in a continuous cycle of improvement.
CQI's latest study on poverty was cited by NDP MP Tony Martin in Parliament on November 24th.
Beyond Compassion: Measuring the External Costs of Poverty in Sault Ste. Marie considers the broader impact of poverty on the economy, vis-a-vis educational attainment and health care costs.
Read the news story here
MoneySense Magazine's "Best Places to Live 2011" survey ranks Sault Ste. Marie as the 59th best place to live in Canada in terms of quality of life - a 27 spot jump from last year!