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Oct 07, 2015

   

Industry News

Report shows Sudbury lags behind on health outcomes, but doing OK on jobs

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Report shows Sudbury lags behind on health outcomes, but doing OK on jobs

The City of Greater Sudbury did not fare well on various health outcomes – including obesity and smoking rates – in the 2015 Sudbury Vital Signs report, but did better on economic measures and community safety.

On the positive side, the unemployment rate in Sudbury decreased from 9.3 per cent in 2009 to 6.4 per cent in 2014.

“That’s really good,” said Carmen Simmons, executive director for the Sudbury Community Foundation, which has prepared the annual Vital Signs report since 2007.

Sudbury’s unemployment rate was lower than both the national and provincial rates, which were 6.9 and 7.3 per cent, respectively.

But when it comes to health, Sudbury continues to perform poorly when compared to Ontario and Canada.

In 2014, 25.5 per cent of the Sudbury and District Health Unit area population, age 18 and over, reported being obese.

The national obesity rate was 20.2 per cent in 2014, while the provincial rate was 20.4 per cent.

Smoking rates were also higher in the Sudbury and District Health Unit area than in Ontario and Canada.

The smoking rate for people in the district over the age of 12 was 25.4 per cent, compared to 18.1 per cent nationally and 17.4 per cent for the province.

Sudbury’s poverty rate increased from 14.1 per cent in 2012, to 14.5 per cent in 2014.

Despite the increase, the poverty rate remained lower than the provincial rate (18.4 per cent) and the national rate (17.3 per cent).

On community safety, the city performed better than in previous years.

The overall crime severity index in Greater Sudbury was 61.3, a decrease of 8.4 per cent from the 2013 rate of 66.9.

In 2014 the national crime severity index stood at 66.7 and the provincial index was 50.0.

Property crime rates in Sudbury have also continued to decline – and have decreased steadily since 1998, when the rate was 5,004 per 100,000.

The property crime rate in 2014 was 2,861 per 100,000 compared to a rate of 2,955 per 100,000 in 2013.

As with previous years, the 2015 Vital Signs report featured a special section not featured in previous publications.

This year that special section focused on community energy and Greater Sudbury Hydro’s work in the community.

Greater Sudbury Hydro spokesperson Wendy Watson said the local utility became a Vital Signs sponsor in 2014.

That year, Simmons suggested creating a section on energy.

“The whole energy sector is undergoing a rapid change right now,” said Watson. “We recognize that electricity is a basic need. We are doing what we can as a distribution company to keep our distribution charges as low as we possibly can.”

The special section reported that on a five-year rolling average Greater Sudbury Hydro consistently performs better than the provincial average on outage frequency.

The report also said that Greater Sudbury’s more than 40,000 homes consumed more than 398 Gigawatt hours of energy in 2014, while the city’s 511 extra large consumers, consumed only 6.3 per cent less energy.

The report concluded the greatest energy savings may be achieved by targeting the “energy-hungry few.”

Jonathan Migneault Northern Life News

Staff Writer

@jmigneault