More Info

Confused or stumped by some of the topics covered in the Table Talks activity? Here's some helpful stats and information to inspire discussion.

Being Able to Afford a Home

Housing prices have hit an all-time high in Ontario making homeownership increasingly difficult for many Canadians. Three-quarters (75%) of those who do not own a home want to own one but can't afford to. Two-thirds (67%) worry about housing prices in their local community, suggesting they believe they might have to move to another community if they decide they want to buy a new home.

Cell Phone Addiction

Over 6% of the overall population is addicted to smartphones. The pattern of abuse is greatest among those under 30, with an average of 16% of adolescents addicted. However, 50% of teens “feel addicted” to mobile devices when polled. It is recommended that young people (over five years of age) keep their screen time to around two hours a day. However, parents in Canada report their children to be on their phones between 5 and 13 hours a day.

Discrimination

Discrimination can appear in many forms. One of the clearest signs it still exists is in the income gap based on race and gender. For example, this study found racialized women earn 59 cents for every dollar earned by white men, while racialized men earned 78 cents for every dollar earned by non-racialized people.

This is despite the fact that racialized people have a higher participation rate and employment rate ― a larger share of them than the overall population are active in the workforce.

Floods

Flooding will become more prevalent in Canada. By 2050, precipitation in Ontario is predicted to increase by 24% in the winter and 12% in the spring. The warmer climate will lead to larger and more intense rainstorms, which will cause flooding in urban areas. By 2050, the annual costs of flooding could exceed US $14 billion in damages and affect 431,000 Canadians annually.

Food Shortages

A food supply chain is a process for how food from a farm ends up on our tables. The methods include production, processing, distribution, consumption, and disposal. A food supply chain is domino-like; when one part of the food supply chain is affected, the whole food supply chain is affected, which often leads to price changes. Climate change is expected to impact various factors of the food supply chain. By 2050, food prices in Canada will be higher, and certain items won’t be available at all. As weather patterns change, climate-sensitive crops like coffee and cocoa will be harder to grow and more expensive.

Government-Imposed Restrictions

The response to the COVID 19 pandemic has been mandated at the federal and provincial level. The federal government has been responsible for international restrictions, issuing subsidies for individuals and businesses, and allocating funding to the provinces to support their ability to accommodate physical distancing requirements. Provincial governments created individual plans for limiting access to public spaces and workplaces.

The restrictions intended to slow the spread of the virus and have impacted people in multiple ways; students turning to online education, small business closures, and a collective toll on our mental health. Though nearly 85% of Canadians have received a vaccine, acts of protest have become more common as the pandemic drags on.

Heatwaves

Ontario is heating up. By 2050, temperatures are expected to jump by 2.4 C in summer and 5.3 C in winter. Warming in the northern part of the province will likely be more than twice as great as that in the south. One of the impacts will be on our health. The very young and the elderly are particularly susceptible to extreme heat, meaning more days spent indoors and more hospital visits.

Mental Health Struggles

Even before COVID19 we have been seeing an increase in mental health issues in Canada. Amongst youth, there was a 61% increase in emergency department visits and a 60% increase in hospitalizations for mental disorders over two decades. 1 in 3 Ontario high-school students indicated a moderate-to-serious level of psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression).

Since the pandemic, students cry more often and more easily, are less able to tolerate disappointment, less motivated to get involved in activities, are restless, bored and have a sense of loneliness and hopelessness. Isolation has brought dramatic increases in opiod use, eating disorders, and suicide attempts among young people.

Pandemics

The likelihood that new contagions and infectious diseases will spread world-wide is increasing. The current probability of a pandemic with similar impact to COVID-19 is currently about 2% in any given year, meaning a high likelihood of a similar event in our lifetime.

More and more of our land is being used to farm food; one-third of the planet’s land surface is dedicated to agriculture. Pandemics begin when infectious diseases jump from animals to humans, and usually begin in these areas, spreading quickly in our increasingly dense urban centres.

Student Debt

The cost of education is increasing all across Canada. This increase is especially prevalent in Ontario. The average undergraduate tuition for a Canadian university is now $6,838. It’s risen by 3.7% every year for ten years. In Ontario, the average tuition is now $8,838, up an average of 4.6% per year over the past ten years. In 2021, the average student in Canada will graduate with over $26,000 in student debt, typically taking between 9-15 years to pay off.

The Rising Cost of Living

The rising cost of living will impact families in various ways. One of the most obvious is the cost of food. The 12th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report predicts the average Canadian family of four will pay an extra $966 for food in 2022. That’s a seven percent increase compared with 2021 — the most significant jump ever predicted by the annual food price report.

Wildfires

Canada has about 7,300 forest fires each year, burning over 2.5 million hectares annually (almost the size of Nova Scotia). Because of climate change, we can expect an increase in forest fires in Canada. This increase is because climate change will create more dry fuel and brush to burn, cause frequent lightning strikes, and create dry, windy weather that fans the flames. Climate scientists predict that by 2050, western Canada will see a 50% increase in the weather conditions that encourage fires, whereas eastern Canada will see a dramatic 200-300% increase.