February 2, 2005

FCM quality of life study ranks York Region highly

NEWMARKET – A study released today by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), “Dynamic Societies and Social Change,” provides a range of observations about the changes in population and the quality of life for the study’s 20 participating communities across Canada, including York Region.
The third Quality of Life Reporting System (QOLRS) report identifies, for example, that while the population is rapidly aging, there is an above average growth in the children and youth segments of the population, and Canadian cities continue to grow even more ethno-culturally diverse.
“York Region is a diverse community and so the findings of this report are consistent with what we’ve seen in our own work and with what we know about York Region,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Overall, York Region is doing very well compared to other communities.”
York Region ranked highly in most quality of life indicators and was among the top municipalities in the following areas:
• proportion of the population with some post secondary education (York Region had the highest growth rate)
• household income and hourly wages
• median family income (York Region’s was second highest)
• low unemployment
“Immigration is key to the growth and quality of York Region’s labour force and the continued strength of our economy,” said Richmond Hill Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg, who is FCM’s QOLRS Committee Co-Chair.  “We need to welcome and involve newcomers in our community and our labour force.”
York Region’s unemployment rate for immigrants was 4.8 per cent, the second lowest among QOLRS communities.  For non-immigrants, the unemployment rate was only 4.2 per cent.  These reflect York Region’s strong and diverse economy.
York Region is one of the most ethno-culturally diverse communities in Canada.  As of 2001, 38.9 per cent of York Region’s population was foreign-born, which is more than double the prevailing rate in the rest of Canada and the fourth largest rate behind Toronto, Vancouver and Peel Region.  Due in large part to immigration, York Region remains one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada and must meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.

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