NorQuest and EPL study weighs importance of social capital

For immediate release:

EDMONTON, AB,  November 8, 2017 – Concentrating on how a lack of social capital affects loneliness, NorQuest College researchers publicly released data on Year 2 of the Building a Better Life/Social Capital Study today.

Social capital refers to the bridging and bonding relationships that people use to function in society, thus enabling that society to function effectively. The study focuses on how social networks affect newcomers to Canada, Indigenous Peoples, and other historically marginalized individuals. The project is guided by the Indigenous seven sacred teachings: love, respect, wisdom, courage, honesty, humility, and truth.

The study is a joint research initiative between NorQuest College and the Edmonton Public Library (EPL).

“EPL is pleased to collaborate on this project to make a difference in the lives of Edmontonians,” said Michael Sambir, Director of Service Design at EPL. “Learning more about the results and participating in further research will allow us, along with our community partners, to put results into action to assist people in building a better future.”

To date, more than 40 community partners have come forward to serve as collaborators on a project that aligns with the City of Edmonton and Councillor Scott McKeen’s initiative on Social Isolation.

 “We are honoured to have leadership from local Elder, Elsie Paul, and local Wisdom Holder, San San Sy,” said principal researcher and NorQuest social work instructor Robert Marvin. “These respected leaders in our community bring balance to our project.”

Some of the key findings from the second round of collection show that of those surveyed:

  • 39% have chronic medical conditions
  • 21% struggle with substance abuse problems
  • 56% experience discrimination
  • 67% live under the low income cut-off
  • 47% volunteer in their community
  • 84% trust community serving agencies

The next and final round of data collection is taking place in November and December this year.

“The final round will help us learn from a broader range of participants who are struggling with substance use issues and those who experience discrimination,” said Marlene Mulder, the project’s co-principal researcher.

The project received a $239,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for three years of study.


About NorQuest College
NorQuest College is the Edmonton region’s only community college serving 11,552 students annually throughout the province in full-time, part-time, distance learning, and regional programs. NorQuest College helps learners with diverse educational backgrounds complete or further their studies through foundational and continuing education programs. Our post-secondary diploma and certificate programs offer career paths in health, community studies, and business. By collaborating with business, industry, government and communities, we ensure our post-secondary education is necessary and workforce relevant. NorQuest College and its students added $421.7 million in income to the Edmonton region’s economy in 2011-2012.

About the Edmonton Public Library
The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is proud to be 2014 Library of the Year! We’ve come a long way since 1913 when books were all you could find on our shelves… and we’re just getting started! Today, EPL carries everything you care about. We are Edmonton’s largest lender of all manner of information and entertainment. Our professionally trained staff take you beyond Google with the knowledge, discernment and desire to help you navigate a universe of information. The second most visited place in Edmonton, every year EPL hosts over 16.9 million in-branch and online visits across our 20 branches and website. We deliver our incredible content to you everywhere – in the library, at home or on your handheld device. Unmatched access and unrivalled value – that is today’s EPL. EPL is a registered charity and relies on donations to enhance services. Spread the words.

For more information, contact

Richard Wright
NorQuest College
Office: 780-644-5924
Mobile: 780-288-3813

Heather McIntyre
Communications Specialist
Edmonton Public Library
Office: 780-496-7055
Mobile: 780-819-4337