2017 marks 12 years since the Niagara-wide community began building Niagara Connects. We are a network of people focused on:

  • building community capacity to use Niagara-focused evidence (data, information, knowledge) to inform planning and decision-making; and
  • facilitating coordinated community action to create the conditions for a more vibrant Niagara.

Niagara Connects’ recent annual shared learning event illuminated Niagara-focused evidence assets at our fingertips: Ontario’s Open Data initiative; the Living in Niagara report; the Niagara Knowledge Exchange; the Niagara Open Data portal; the Niagara Community Data Consortium; the Niagara Community Observatory at Brock; and INCommunities – 211. Discussion focused on opportunities to make the most of these ‘early days’ for open data-sharing by forming solid partnerships.

The Niagara Connects team constantly observes what’s emerging in the Niagara-wide community. For 2017, here are the top 5 areas in which we see Niagara focusing its collaborative, evidence-informed work:

  • Construction of the Living in Niagara-2017 report is well underway. This fourth triennial measure of quality of life in Niagara will be launched in November.
  • Sustainability for the work of the Niagara Mental Health and Addictions Charter is based on engagement, partnerships and shared measurement among Charter Signatory organizations. A focus on Workplace Mental Wellness and Productivity in Niagara is emerging.
  • The #Rethink Niagara Call to Action will show how initiatives currently underway to strengthen Niagara’s future, can be systematically woven together, to increase opportunities for people and families in Niagara to achieve financial security.
  • Indigenous people in Niagara will have increased opportunities to reconnect with their cultural heritage. Partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations will increase, as work unfolds to enact the Urban Aboriginal Strategy in the Niagara context.
  • The wisdom, energy and knowledge that people of all ages contribute to Niagara will be better understood. Opportunities for intergenerational connections will be identified, as the Niagara Aging Strategy and Action Plan is implemented, and details about the Niagara U35 initiative are shared.

What part can you play in strengthening these opportunities for Niagara? Please reach out to Niagara Connects to share your ideas!

Mary Wiley
Executive Director, Niagara Connects

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