Health Inequalities in Canada

Health Inequalities in Canada


Canada is a healthy nation.
But not everyone enjoys all the benefits of good health. These health differences are
mostly explained by conditions in which we are born, live, play
and work. Also known as the social determinants of health,
they include things like our income, housing, education
or job opportunities. Discrimination can make being
healthy even more challenging. When some groups face barriers
within these determinants more than other groups, this is
unfair and we refer to these
as inequities. Some inequities may begin in
the womb and continue throughout childhood
and beyond. Canadian children living in
communities with lower levels of education, employment and
income have lower chances of reaching their full
developmental potential. Inequities continue into
adulthood. For example, Canadians with
lower levels of education, employment, or income are
more likely to have diabetes and
poor mental health. Ultimately, people with lower
levels of education or income
live shorter lives on average. Other social determinants also
affect our health and wellbeing
such as food and housing. Certain Canadians experience
food insecurity more than others. That means they are
unable to afford the quantity and quality of food they need
for good health: First Nations on reserve, First
Nations off reserve, Inuit and Métis people experience higher
food insecurity than
non-Indigenous people. Black and Latin American
Canadians experience higher food insecurity than
White Canadians. Bisexual people experience
higher food insecurity than heterosexual people.
There are also inequities in access to adequate, affordable
and suitable housing. Recent immigrants are twice as
likely as non-immigrants to live in housing that is unaffordable,
too crowded or in need of major repairs. Inequities
experienced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations
are anchored in colonial policies and practices
that included forced displacement into reserves and
remote communities, the banning of Indigenous
languages and cultural practices and creation of the residential
school system. Unaddressed intergenerational
trauma adds to the ongoing challenges faced by
Indigenous peoples. How do we address these
inequities? By ensuring the conditions that support our
health, such as good housing, income, education, employment,
social connectedness and access to social support, and
health programs and services, are equitably available to all
Canadians. For Indigenous Peoples, this would include
addressing the Calls to Action as outlined in the Truth and
Reconciliation Report, and United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Doing this requires a better
understanding of the current state of health inequalities in
Canada. This information is now available in the Key Heath
Inequalities in Canada report and the Health Inequalities
Data Tool. So that together we can create
opportunities for all Canadians to enjoy optimum health
and wellbeing.

Daniel Yohans

1 thought on “Health Inequalities in Canada

  1. Mandatory Fields says:

    This is retarded. Thank you social studies majors. You're useless.

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