Statistics & Facts

Did you know?

Did you know that one in five West Island residents turns to a local community group for help each year? 

The need is clear and real. These include:

  • Unmotivated or unsupervised youth who get into trouble with drugs and alcohol or join gangs for belonging.
  • Young girls who are influenced by social pressures to look beautiful and thin, and develop an eating disorder, causing serious health risks and family anguish.
  • Seniors who are challenged by health issues, loneliness or financial difficulties if they live on limited fixed incomes.
  • People whose income is reduced or are unemployed as a result of marriage breakup, lack of employable skills or negative family support.
  • Neighbourhoods where many cultures and religions coexist may be prone to racial tensions and feelings of isolation.
  • Young mothers and people in single-parent situations who suffer high stress and who are trying to cope with working, raising children and making ends meet.
  • Lower income residents who are forced to find cheap, perhaps less inhabitable housing or go without regular meals and other necessities in order to pay the rent.

In addition, an often hidden social issue is the large number of people who suffer from intellectual handicaps or mental illness. Those afflicted, and their caregivers, battle with day-to-day living. As a result, many people have to give up dreams, endure financial hardship or give up in despair. Sometimes having access to individual or group support, education, vocational training, or out-patient medical services and programs, can make a huge difference in their quality of life.

Since 1997, West Island Community Shares has made inroads into addressing community needs. We have an enviable rapport with the community groups we now assist financially.

They tell us some startling facts about our community:

  • 10,000 West Islanders are affected by an eating disorder – a disorder that causes ravaging deterioration of a person’s health and in extreme cases leading to death.
  • 35,000 West Island citizens are suffering from one or many of the 100 forms of arthritis.
  • 45,000 West Island residents are affected by mental illness. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health problem in his/her lifetime. These residents and their families and friends require support, information and education about the care, treatment and recovery of mental illness. Families and close friends of a person with a mental illness need to find ways to cope with feelings of confusion, shock, panic, denial, sorrow, guilt, frustration, anger, shame and isolation.
  • Many pockets of poverty exist in the West Island. The last Report on Poverty (2004) elaborated by the CRÉ (Conférence Régionale des Élus) and the Sommet de Montreal Report demonstrates that: 
    • 14.7% of the population covered by the Pierrefonds CLSC live below the poverty level (CLSC Pierrefonds area covers Pierrefonds, Ste-Genevieve, DDO, Roxboro and Ile-Bizard)
    • 8.4% of the population covered by the Lac St-Louis CLSC live below the poverty level
    • The average annual revenues of an underprivileged family living in the Cloverdale area of Pierrefonds is $12,000
    • 45% of the population living in Sainte-Genevieve are single parent families and considered high risk. 27% of the Sainte-Genevieve population lives under the poverty level
  • Thousands of at risk youth require guidance, services and a safe haven to escape difficult situations at home. An estimated 34,440 youth under 18 years old live in the area covered by the CLSC Pierrefonds. These youth can find refuge in the three Maisons des Jeunes that are located in this area.
  • 7,500 West Islanders live with an intellectual handicap. Many families who have a child living with this condition move to the West Island due to the high quality and availability of services. WIAIH (West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped) helps intellectually handicapped persons and their families cope, and provide over 100,000 hours of respite for families each year.
  • Hundreds of West Island families in crisis require immediate help from AMCAL Family Services in order to deal with their troubled teens. AMCAL is the only program offering a 24-hour residence for teens in crisis and who counsel families in crisis.
  • Statistics provided from “Portrait statistique regionale 2003” shows that more than 47,500 West Islanders live with some kind of disability. Many of these citizens require the help of volunteer-advocates who provide company and friendship, who accompany them to the doctor’s office, who provide support and guidance.
  • Every year, over 1,500 West Island families need the help of the West Island Assistance Fund in order to make ends meet or to get through a tough temporary financial set back.
  • Hundreds of West Island seniors can no longer cook for themselves. Last year, over 9,000 frozen meals and over 38,000 hot meals were delivered to our seniors through the Meals on Wheels program.Such is the less pleasant – but very real side – of the West Island, and what the many local community groups have to deal with every day. We have to admire their tenacity and courage to take on these societal challenges.

Another Side to the West Island. The following social indicators are important in order to understand the existence of many of the West Island Community groups:

  1. Although the percentage (12.5%) of West Island residents living below poverty is lower than Greater Montreal’s average of 23%, there are pockets of poverty that dispel the myth that everyone is living a well-to-do lifestyle. These are among the poorest parts of the island of Montreal.
  2. Two communities, Dorval (18%) and Pointe-Claire (16%), have a large, growing senior population, surpassing Greater Montreal’s average of 15%. Aging communities have particular needs. Many seniors want to remain in their homes as long as they are in good health.
  3. Two communities, Dollard/Roxboro (33%) and Pierrefonds/Senneville (28%), have large, growing ethnic populations, establishing that the West Island is not any kind of homogeneous community. New immigrants adjusting to a new way of life present many social issues that can be addressed with information, programs and intervention.

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