The latest Vital Signs report from the Mississauga Community Foundation has come out and it paints a very clear picture of the impact of the pandemic on the people of Mississauga.
From physical and mental health outcomes to housing, immigration and youth development, the report explores countless ways COVID-19 has changed lives as we know it.
Here are some of the most important details:
Young people have been hit hard
The Peel Children’s Aid Foundation reports that there has been a 50 to 70 percent increase in urgent requests for care and support over the past year. Young people were also over-represented in COVID-19 infections, accounting for 21% of all cases, but only representing 16% of the population.
People aged 20 to 29 were at higher risk of exposure because they are less likely to live at home, more likely to have more precarious jobs, and to earn lower income than older adults .
Higher income equals less risk
The five postal codes not considered COVID-19 hotspots in Mississauga had higher median incomes and fewer visible minorities, according to the report. The types of jobs have played a huge role in a person’s risk of contracting COVID-19, with those in manufacturing and industry accounting for 69% of all outbreaks in the workplace.
Parks were a lifeline
The report states that 93 percent of Mississauga residents believe parks improve mental health, 83 percent believe they improve physical health, and 73 percent believe they improve social relationships and well-being. Mississauga lacks space in parks compared to other major Canadian cities. Only 10 percent of the city’s space is public parks. Rattray Marsh received 67% more visitors from December to May 2020, and Riverwood Conservancy recorded 129% more traffic in 2020 than the year before.
The gap between rich and poor is widening
The 2021 Peel Region Social Capital Study reports that the average incomes of youth and immigrants are actually declining, and the income gap between racialized groups and white workers is growing. This is tied to the growth in precarious employment, and during the 2020 lockdown, Peel had a higher unemployment rate than Toronto or the Canadian average, standing at 12%. These job losses have disproportionately affected part-time and low-income workers.
Food insecurity is directly linked to inequalities
The Mississauga Food Bank saw a 64% increase in customer numbers in the spring of 2020 compared to three months earlier. In 2020, 77 percent of clients were visible minorities and nine percent were refugees.
A mortgage is now out of the question for most Mississauga residents
Since 2018, the price of a typical home in Mississauga has increased by 42%. With the average home now costing over $ 1 million, families earning $ 90,000 a year are expected to spend 51% of their income on mortgage payments. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a healthy family budget should spend no more than 30 percent on housing costs, including taxes and utilities. The average condo rental is not affordable for half of Mississauga residents.
Immigrants leave Mississauga
The report says that with fewer immigrants coming to Canada during the pandemic and an increase in the number of new residents leaving Peel to find more affordable housing, Mississauga’s population could decline.
Between 2019 and 2020, Peel lost approximately 25,000 residents who moved to other parts of Ontario.