The 2021 Vital Signs Survey has been released, with a large focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in several facets of life taking centre stage.

Community Foundation of northwest Alberta CEO Laura LaValley says one of the more telling stats comes in the form of volunteering. The study shows that reported volunteering fell to 58 per cent of those surveyed in 2020, down from 72 percent in 2019. However, LaValley says the number of respondents who reported helping someone outside their household held steady around 70 per cent.
many had not considered our actions as volunteering).

“A lot of people didn’t necessarily identify with the smaller tasks they would do for a neighbour, such as shoveling a walk or something of the sort,” she says.

“Those structured areas of volunteering were certainly in decline in 2020, certainly with the health restrictions, but we did see people were giving of their time.

Physical activity levels throughout the pandemic also varied quite dramatically depending on the age of respondents, with levels staying around 57 per cent for the 18-64 age group, it declined drastically for kids aged 12-17, from 50.5 to 37.2 per cent. LaValley says judging by the data in the survey, everyone has felt the impact of the COVID-19, in both the intensity and duration.

LaValley says while it’s always a celebration when they’re able to publish the thoughts and feelings of residents, she hopes the 2021 survey will allow for greater dialogue between neighbours, family, and friends throughout the Peace Country.

“It’s to inspire conversation and to get people thinking, and talking and being able to base their opinions and their ideas on some evidence that is actually, directly from our region,” she adds.

In all, 1,617 residents across the Grande Prairie and MD of Greenview regions were surveyed as part of the 2021 Vital Signs Report.