Edmonton, AB – Health Cities, a non-profit organization committed to promoting innovative solutions to improve health outcomes and economic growth in Alberta’s healthcare sector, is pleased to launch a new initiative aimed at improving the delivery of social services using data and technology.
In the first phase of the project, named the Edmonton Community Data Warehouse, Health Cities partnered with PolicyWise for Children & Families, an Alberta-based organization with industry-leading expertise in evaluating policies and programs, and creating processes to analyze data for organizations serving children, youth, families, and communities. The integration of key data was done in partnership with the project working group, comprised of six Edmonton-based social services agencies:
- Bissell Centre
- Boyle Street Community Services
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Islamic Family
- Mustard Seed
- Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (SAGE)
This transformative project can improve the capacity for social service organizations to collect, organize and analyze data — a critical first step to better serving client populations in Edmonton and across Alberta. The collective power of the information allows agencies to better understand the populations they serve, assess changes in those populations over time and advocate, as one, for policy outcomes to address shortcomings.
PolicyWise’s experience and knowledge was instrumental in assisting the working group to assess their current data environment, and establish effective pathways for collecting and managing safe, meaningful and useful data.
“This is an important collaboration to build data capacity across the Alberta social sector,” said Jody Wolfe, Research and Policy Manager at PolicyWise for Children & Families. “We are excited to embark on this new venture and committed to working closely with our partners to make a real difference in our communities using our Build Better Data tools.”
Data plays a critical role in addressing the complex challenges facing our communities today,” said Reg Joseph, CEO of Health Cities. “By using data to better understand the needs of the community, we can inform where our resources are needed most — and through partnership and collaboration, we can provide solutions which incorporate and address social determinants of health.”
“The community approach to working with data is the most exciting part for me,” said Maria Savidov, Analysis and Evaluation Manager at Bissell Centre. “It’s just been so delightful to see the enthusiasm of different agencies about joining our data sets and breaking down inter-agency silos.”
The Edmonton Community Data Warehouse has already moved into its next phase involving building the architecture, governance, and privacy protocols for the warehouse. Health Cities plans to scale the pilot project province-wide with participation from other social services agencies looking to collaborate, understand and shape the services they provide to Albertans.
For more information about the Edmonton Community Data Warehouse and Health Cities, please visit healthcities.ca. For more information about PolicyWise for Children & Families and our Build Better Data tools, please visit policywise.com
Health Cities is a Canadian not-for-profit corporation that works with clinicians, innovators, philanthropic organizations, and companies to develop new models of care that can drive better health outcomes and economic growth in the health sector. Our focus is on transforming innovations from our health sector into solutions that have commercial application and global relevance, adopting them for impact locally and scaling them for export to global markets.
PolicyWise for Children & Families is an Alberta-based non-profit that informs, identifies, and promotes effective social policy. We focus on improving the well-being of children, families, and communities so that they thrive in respectful, safe, and supportive environments shaped by wise decisions.
Creating a More Complete Picture of Human Trafficking in Alberta
PolicyWise for Children & Families is continuing to celebrate 20 years of impacting meaningful change. As part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, they are sharing stories about successful projects, both past and present.
Frontline service providers, police, and survivors have stated those experiencing human trafficking may never appear in the statistics. They feel the data misses the breadth of Victims’ and Survivors’ experiences.
Human trafficking, including labour trafficking and sex trafficking, is a crime and a human rights violation. The most used and widely available data on human trafficking in Canada comes from Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada’s report, Trafficking in Persons in Canada, 2020, states that 515 police-reported human trafficking incidents occurred in Canada in 2020. Yet, the scale of human trafficking is much larger.
The Provincial Human Trafficking Network, a collaboration of more than 30 organizations working in human trafficking, wanted to see if they could work together to better describe what human trafficking looks like in Alberta.
In 2021, the facilitative organization #NotInMyCity was awarded a grant from Alberta Community and Social Services to help address this challenge on behalf of the Network through the Alberta Human Trafficking Data Portal project.
The project aims to create a more complete picture of the scale, experience, and nature of human trafficking in Alberta by bringing data together in a secure and usable way. We worked alongside #NotInMyCity to support the project by creating:
- A prototype that gathers data on human trafficking from law enforcement and community services.
- A roadmap to support improving data collection, management, sharing, integration, and analytics in the human trafficking sector.
Ultimately, the data work on this project will contribute to preventing human trafficking, protecting and supporting Victims, and prosecuting offenders.
This project was sponsored by the Buckspring Foundation.