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Surveys show most Saskatoon residents satisfied with City life, services & performance

For immediate release: October 14, 2021 - 8:30am
ST21-2586

Saskatoon residents report high levels of satisfaction with City services and their quality of life, two separate public surveys show.

“We’re glad to see that even in light of the pandemic, a healthy majority of those surveyed told us they continue to enjoy a good quality of life and are satisfied with the services the City provides for the community,” says Carla Blumers, Director of Communications and Public Engagement. 

Results of the 2021 Citizen Satisfaction & Performance Survey and the 2021 Performance, Priorities & Preferences Survey will be presented to the Governance and Priorities Committee at its meeting Monday, October 18. The surveys were conducted by Forum Research Inc. this past spring and summer, respectively, and each included a telephone survey, an online panel and an open survey link available to the public on the city website. The results of the telephone and online panel for both surveys are reliable and representative of the population due to the random selection process. When compared to the 2016 Canadian Census, this sample is reflective of the Saskatoon population, based on age and gender.

“After all that we’ve been through in the last few years, it’s encouraging to see that while we know that there are still areas to improve upon, overall, Saskatoon citizens continue to be satisfied with their quality of life, services, and the handling of and communications throughout the pandemic,” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “This speaks not only to City of Saskatoon staff, but to the community as a whole for their contributions in making Saskatoon a great place to live. The results of these surveys are a testament to the ability of our staff and City to adapt in an increasingly changing world.”

Results

Citizen Satisfaction & Performance

Telephone and online panel respondents of the Citizen Satisfaction & Performance Survey identify COVID-19 as the single most important issue facing the City of Saskatoon. This is followed by public safety/crime/policing, road maintenance, and taxes. Of note over the last several years, the mention of road construction has steadily diminished as a most important issue.

While half of respondents indicate COVID-19 has affected satisfaction with the quality of services the City of Saskatoon offers, 88% of telephone and 87% of online panel respondents express overall satisfaction with the quality of services provided by the City of Saskatoon.

City communications receive a strong endorsement with 85% of telephone and 71% of online panel respondents reporting the City provides timely and helpful information on impacts to civic services during the pandemic. And three-quarters of respondents (78% telephone and 73% online panel respondents) indicate the City provides a safe environment to access City facilities and services as the pandemic has allowed. When asked about the quality of City communications, 80% of telephone and 87% of online respondents indicate they are satisfied with them.

Turning to public engagement, 76% of telephone and 77% of online panel respondents say the City provides meaningful opportunities to participate in public engagement opportunities. Evaluations related to five areas of customer service improved significantly from 2018, particularly when it comes to providing consistent and reliable information.

Respondents overwhelmingly agree (91% telephone and 90% online panel) the City is effectively providing online services. Approximately one in three respondents (36% of telephone respondents and 32% of online panel respondents) feel that a combination of property tax and user fee increases is the best approach to balancing the budget.

Civic Services, Priorities & Preferences

Overall satisfaction remains the same or higher since 2018 for many of the 29 civic services included in the survey. Survey participants note their highest level of satisfaction with the City’s performance in each of the below areas of service as follows:

Transportation & Utilities:

  1. reliability of electrical services
  2. quality of drinking water
  3. speed of water main break repairs

Community & Public Services:

  1. fire protection
  2. maintenance of city parks
  3. police services

Waste Management:

  1. garbage collection
  2. recycling collection
  3. landfill services

Recreation & Culture:

  1. indoor leisure centres
  2. outdoor sports fields
  3. paddling pools & spray parks

Telephone and online panel respondents note they would like to see the City’s existing performance improve in the areas of:

  • snow & ice road maintenance
  • major road and freeway maintenance
  • traffic management
  • neighbourhood street maintenance
  • accessibility of infrastructure for people with disabilities
  • planning for growth and development

The top three areas that telephone and online panel respondents indicate they would like to see the City provide more services for are:

  • affordable housing
  • road maintenance
  • snow and ice management

“City of Saskatoon employees deserve great credit for the increased approval in communications and customer service,” Mayor Clark says. “We’ve seen employees become more adaptable than ever imagined in the last two years. This has allowed them to engage with residents in new ways as well as create more efficient ways to provide services. Participation from residents in these surveys is critical to highlight areas of strength, but also areas where improvement is still needed to deliver the results our residents come to expect. The lessons learned will allow the City of Saskatoon to better meet the expectations of residents now and in the years to come.”

The City of Saskatoon will use the results to inform decisions related to strategic priorities, budgeting, and service delivery, as well as to highlight opportunities for continuous improvement.

Previously scheduled to be conducted in 2020, both surveys were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving forward, each survey will be conducted separately every year on a rotating basis. In 2022, the Civic Satisfaction & Performance survey will be conducted. In 2023, the Civic Services Service: Performance, Priorities & Preferences will be conducted.

Full summaries and the detailed results of both the Civic Satisfaction & Performance Survey and the Civic Services Performance, Priorities & Preferences Survey can be found on the City of Saskatoon website at https://www.saskatoon.ca/engage/2021-civic-surveys.