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Nursing Community Assessment

This guide will help you gather information about communities in order to analyze health issues and health needs from a population perspective.



The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has defined the boundaries of the 12 Winnipeg Health Region communities precisely. These are the boundaries that the WRHA's health and community data conform to.

The WHRA community boundaries follow the boundaries created by the City of Winnipeg for its communities and neighbourhoods. As a result, it is possible subdivide our selected Winnipeg Health Region community into neighbourhoods. Except for uninhabited industrial neighbourhoods, the same census data is available for individual neighbourhoods as are available for the community as a whole.

We should not think of the conditions within a set of boundaries (community, neighbourhood, health district, health region) as being homogenous or uniform. Data covering a defined area tends to be an average that may smooth out widely varying measures for small areas within those boundaries.

See 8. Health Regions and Social Services for more on this topic.



The Census of Canada has also defined precise boundaries for cities, towns, municipalities and other "census subdivisions". The census data conforms to these boundaries.

Unfortunately, available health data tends not to conform to the same boundaries. In some cases, health data is only available for the health region as a whole. In our analysis, we need to point out any significant issues where we suspect that data for the health region might not apply to the population within our selected community or target group.

We should be aware that some people might have to travel outside our community to get access to services, and that people might come into our community from the surrounding area for the same reason. If we think that this might skew data or raise significant issues we should make note of it in our analysis.



Housing is one indicator of the great differences that can exist within a community. Housing age and quality can vary from block to block and street to street, so data that average conditions over a wider area may not reflect true conditions in a particular block, street or neighbourhood.

Since housing often reflects the income level or social class of the occupants, socioeconomic data for a community or neighbourhood may also be out of synch with conditions in smaller areas within the community or neighbourhood.

Image source: Churchill, Man.


Generally speaking, communities in Manitoba share much the same geography and climate. The main differences are primarily between Winnipeg (a large urban community) and communities outside (smaller urban communities in a rural setting).

Local differences in health hazards may relate to different levels of potential exposure to specific hazards in urban and rural settings: for example, exposure to traffic accidents or exposure to diseases carried by wild animals such as rabies, West Nile virus and bird flu.

Three main services are primarily concerned with public safety: Police, fire and ambulance services. Basic information is usually provided on community web sites.

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Police and Crime


Water supply as a health issue most often focuses on drinking water, but the agricultural and industrial needs and uses for water can also have an impact on community health.

Water, Sewage and waste disposal services are usually administered locally through municipal governments and basic information (e.g., contacts) is usually available on community web sites as well as provincial and federal agencies that are also concerned with water pollution and other environmental concerns related to water supply.

Outside government, environmental organizations and other interest groups are concerned with water supply and how it is used and protected may also provide useful information.  Use the links below to explore these groups and agencies.

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