Developmental health at school entry varies greatly between neighbourhoods
Children’s first years of life set the stage for later development, and are foundational to their success in school and well-being. The Early Development Instrument (EDI), developed by the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University and used nationally and internationally, is a questionnaire completed by kindergarten teachers that looks at children’s developmental health across five areas: physical health and well-being; emotional maturity; social competence; language and cognitive development; and communication skills and general knowledge.
Children who are in the lowest 10th percentile in any domain are at greater risk in terms of learning outcomes. Across Ottawa as a whole, 26% of children in senior kindergarten score low on one or more domains. In the Glebe only 13% of children score low in 1 or more domains, while in Vanier that proportion is 39%.
There is a relationship between percentage of children with “at risk” scores and socio-economic status of neighbourhoods. However, there are large numbers of vulnerable children in the middle class, so both targeted and universal support programs are needed.
While the neighbourhood EDI results were accessed through the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (see below), the original source of the data is the Parent Resource Centre (PRC). The PRC houses the Data Analysis Coordinators for Ottawa, who are responsible for the implementation, analysis and local reporting of the EDI.
The neighbourhood of Kanata Lakes includes Marchwood Lakeside, Morgan’s Grant and Kanata North Business Park.
- Ottawa Neighbourhood Study. Accessed August 2019
Education levels vary significantly across neighbourhoods in Ottawa
n 2016, a high school diploma was the highest level of education achieved by 19% of Ottawa residents between the ages of 25 and 64. This number ranges widely depending on the neighbourhood. For example, Glebe-Dow’s Lake is at the low end at just under 11%, and Edwards-Carlsbad Springs at the high end at 36%.
Not surprisingly, there seems to be a correlation between neighbourhood levels of education and median income. In particular, income is negatively correlated with the percentage having only a high school diploma in the highest and lowest earning neighbourhoods, while there is not such a notable difference in middle earning neighbourhoods. Glebe-Dow’s Lake is representative of the high-income end of this correlation, and Vanier is representative of the low-income end. On the other hand, a very high proportion of the population in Edwards-Carlsbad Springs, a middle earning neighbourhood, has only a high school diploma, and a relatively low proportion has post-graduate degrees.
- Ottawa Neighbourhood Study. Accessed August 20 2019
A high proportion of Ontarians do not score high on literacy and numeracy
There are five levels on the scale that Canada and many other OECD countries use to measure literacy and numeracy. Performance at or below level 2 is associated with modest to significant limits in proficiency and skills for achieving high-paying employment, and for actively participating in civic and political life. There is also a well-established connection between lower levels of literacy and numeracy skills, and lower levels of employment.
Even among 25 to 34 year olds, the age bracket with the lowest proportion of low-scores, 41% of Ontarians were rated at 2 or below for literacy, and almost 50% for numeracy. These proportions increase in each successive age category, and are 57% and 65% respectively in the 55 to 65 age category.
- ETS Literacy Tests. What Your Score Means. Accessed August 20, 2016.
- OECD. Members and partners. Accessed August 20, 2016.
- Parliament of Canada. Literacy in Canada. Accessed August 20, 2016.
- Statistics Canada. CANSIM Table 477-0079
- USOECD. Overview. Accessed September 13, 2016.
Literacy levels affect participation in ongoing job-related skills development
In a national survey last conducted in 2010, Ottawa ranked fourth (after Victoria, Saskatoon and Calgary) among 38 Canadian cities on conditions that support lifelong learning. The survey was based on the Composite Learning Index, a large suite of indicators and specific measures such as high-school dropout rates, participation in job-related training, access to learning institutions and community institutions, and access to broadband internet. Although Ottawa ranked highly, it had also shown one of the most significant declines over the previous five years.
Job-related education is an important element of lifelong learning, contributing to a more skilled, engaged and productive workforce. But the level of participation in such courses is strongly tipped in favour of those who are highly literate.
Ontario’s 24 publicly funded colleges, known as Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAATs), offer continuing education courses on a part-time basis, either for credit towards a post-secondary credential or for general interest. In 2015, over 50% of those who took such courses were 35 or older.
- Canadian Council on Learning. The 2010 Composite Learning Index: Five years of measuring Canada’s progress on lifelong learning. 2010
- Colleges Ontario. Student and Graduate Profiles Environmental Scan 2015. 2015
- OECD. Skills Outlook 2013. Survey of Adult Skills. 2013