THE IMPACTS OF THE PANDEMIC ON COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE LAURENTIANS REGION

A very thorough report was released by the Conseil Régional de Développement Social des Laurentides made possible through the financial support of the Government of Canada, under the Emergency Fund for Community Support (FUAC) sheds light into the effects of the pandemic on community organizations and social development in the Laurentians.

The survey

By painting a situational portrait of the reality experienced by organizations during the

pandemic, it was possible to document the challenges, issues, and successes. To do this, all of the region’s community organizations from all sectors (homelessness, youth, seniors, housing, employability, mental health, etc.) were surveyed. The survey was distributed by the eight regional authorities in social development in the Laurentians to their members in order to identify the different services that have adapted or developed during the pandemic, to see to

their complementarity and to define how they have responded to a need of the population.

The survey was distributed by email and posted on the CRDSL Facebook page as of February 15, 2021. Answers were collected until March 5, which allowed the organizers to extract the issues related to the second wave. 75 community organizations from the Laurentians region completed the survey.

Representation

Among the 75 responses received, here is the breakdown by MRC. Among the responding organizations, 72% had responded to the first survey on the impacts of the pandemic while 28% had not.The MRCs represented were: Antoine Labelle, Laurentides, Pays-d’en-Haut, Rivière-du-Nord, City of Mirabel, Thérèse-de-Blainville, Argenteuil and Deux-Montagnes

Conclusions

Responses from the two phases of the survey carried out by the CRDSL with community organizations in the Laurentians region shed light on the many impacts of the pandemic in

recent months. Several strategies have been put in place by local organizations to be able to maintain services while adapting to the many constraints linked to the pandemic and the related health measures. The resilience of the community environment is an essential strength that has enabled it to maintain its role as a social safety net over the past few months.

With its share of hardships, the pandemic has highlighted the strength of the network and the importance of working together.The dialogue has solidified, the reflexes of collaboration have developed. The many benefits linked to collective intelligence are no longer to be demonstrated. The links established over the past few months have made it possible to accelerate the passage to action and, thanks to the pooling of resources, to increase their effectiveness.

Teleworking showed many benefits. It made it possible to facilitate certain collaborations and fostered a certain reconciliation between work and family responsibilities.

However, the feeling of fatigue and breathlessness of workers in the area who lack the

financial, material, and human resources to be able to respond adequately to the growing demands of the population of the Laurentian region was glaring.

The impacts on the mental health and the overall health of the most disadvantaged clienteles were numerous, but the entire population is beginning to feel the signs of social isolation which is prolonged over time.

The pandemic only highlighted social issues that were already very present in the different communities, but were overlooked. The survey asks what role can we play so that these realities are addressed and that innovative solutions to reduce social inequalities are proposed. “Highlighting the many issues leads us to position ourselves in order to know what social response we wish to bring collectively for a more just and benevolent society.” Concluded the document of the survey.