Jurisdictions across the world have adopted strategies to enhance health equity. Some have developed approaches to promote health equity within their health systems while others have developed intersectoral approaches to tackle social determinants of health within and beyond the health sector.
In Ontario, there are significant gaps in health outcomes and service use for different populations across the province.
Health Quality Ontario has developed its equity plan to better support the system to provide equitable, high-quality care to everyone. The International Review of Health Equity Strategies aimed to inform Health Quality Ontario’s Health Equity Plan. The full report identifies and describes strategies developed by Canadian and international jurisdictions to enhance health equity within and beyond the health sector.
The State of Health Inequities in Ontario provides an overview of published research literature on health inequities in Ontario. It outlines research on eight groups that may face marginalization, including women, racialized groups, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) groups, immigrant groups, and low-income groups. Specifically we have compiled papers published in both academic and non-academic literature on six indicators of population health and service quality: life expectancy; self-rated health; low birthweight; diabetes; length of stay in hospital; rate of potentially avoidable hospitalizations.
Combined, the papers outlined in this overview signal that there are significant disparities in health for different populations across the province. While these conclusions are based on a limited set of indicators, the snapshot provides a sense of the breadth and depth of inequities in Ontario. There are disparities between regions, income groups, age groups, gender groups and ethnic origin populations. There are differences in risk of illness and service use. There are also groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer groups, for which limited data are available. The combined impact of multiple marginalized identities on health is also not taken into account in this analysis, but it is likely that that will further magnify disparities for some groups. The data and research gaps identified on some groups and indicators need to be addressed in order to better identify and understand health inequities across Ontario.