COVID Signpost 100 Days

COVID Signpost, 100 Days examines how life in Canadian cities has changed over the first 100 days of COVID, specifically in how we live, move, work, care and prosper.

The report draws on research from across Canada, including public health data and a survey conducted by the market and social research firm Advanis of 55,000 Canadians over the past 100 days. The report argues that our experiences with COVID have depended largely on who we are and where we live.

The largest 20 cities in Canada account for 42 per cent of the country’s population and yet over the first 100 days of COVID account for 67 per cent of total cases, and 75 per cent of total deaths. Some cities have fared much worse than others: Montreal, for example, has had more than 25 times the number of per capita cases as Edmonton.

Data cited in the report also confirmed that the impact and devastation on different population groups has been uneven, often affecting already marginalized communities and thus intensifying existing inequalities. Across the research domains examined including housing and mobility, COVID has disproportionately affected women, older people, Indigenous peoples, and Black and other racialized groups.

COVID Signpost 100 Days points to a need for better city-level data, including race-based and hyper-local demographic data. It calls on governments at all levels to make this a priority over the next 100 days to inform better decision making. It also calls for a greater role for local leaders, whose on the ground experience in responding to COVID is crucial to developing regional, provincial and federal recovery and rebuilding plans. The report also reinforces calls for the federal and provincial governments to immediately address the acute financial crisis large municipalities are facing because of COVID.

This report is just a starting point – a key benchmark – of the potential impact the pandemic may have in ushering in fundamental changes to how we plan and design cities. CUI is committed to producing COVID Signpost reports every 100 days during this pandemic, until whatever time they are no longer relevant. These signposts offer important directions for urban Canada about the lingering challenges we must face as a nation.



Research Report


June 2020