QOLRS Members: Measuring quality of life in Canada's Communities
The QOLRS is a member-based initiative. Starting with 16 communities in 1996, the QOLRS has grown to 24 communities in seven provinces. QOLRS reports and data correspond to the municipal boundaries of member communities.
The participating 24 communities account for more than 50 per cent of Canada´s population. They comprise some of Canada´s largest urban centres and many of the suburban communities surrounding them, as well as regional centres. QOLRS members generally have populations of at least 200,000 people.
Membership has its privileges
QOLRS members provide advice on the selection and development of annual theme reports and issue briefings, which reflect shared municipal priorities across the country. These reports consider quality of life issues from a municipal perspective and use data segregated by actual municipal boundaries, not Census Metropolitan Areas, as is often the case in other studies.
By providing evidence of important trends taking place across the municipal sector, these reports are timely and crucial tools that enhance FCM´s advocacy efforts with the federal government.
Members use QOLRS reports and data for planning, to improve local policies and resources aimed at improving quality of life in their respective communities.
In addition to data published in specific and periodic theme reports and issue briefings, QOLRS members have access to social, environmental and economic indicators and time-series data from multiple sources. One unique source designed specifically for the QOLRS is the Municipal Data Collection Tool (MDCT), an online collaborative database used to compile and report on municipal administrative data not collected by national statistical agencies.
Finally, membership in the reporting system provides access to a pan-Canadian network of technical experts in municipal quality of life data measurement and reporting.
Costs and responsibilities
The current QOLRS membership fee is $7,500 annually, which covers the cost of acquiring data, producing reports and managing the project. Detailed budgets are presented to and approved by all QOLRS members.
QOLRS members must dedicate staff to participate in regular conference calls, working groups and an annual face-to-face meeting. The time commitment is approximately two to 10 hours per month, depending on the extent to which members involve themselves in working groups and the development of specific QOLRS products. Importantly, members are responsible for managing access to and sharing of a variety of data within their respective municipalities.