Some highlights from day two of the national forum to reduce health inequalities: The Wellesley Institute’s Bob Gardner and Michael Shapcott joined with about 70 federal, provincial and municipal government officials, public health officials, academics, policy experts and reps from various organizations for a full day of planning to create a national action plan:
- a new “network of networks” is being formed under the leadership of the Canadian Council on Social Development and the Canadian Public Health Agency to draw together a variety of national and regional networks that are working on research, policy and action related to a variety of social determinants of health.
- a new working group has been formed to work on the “settings” approach to public health (the crucial role that specific settings such as schools, workplaces, homes, etc., play in determining health).
- a group on community action met to share experiences about local, cross-sectoral initiatives, bridge-building and other structural issues.
- an inter-governmental working group met to discuss the lack of “policy coherence” among different levels of government when it comes to tackling health inequalities.
- an Inuit, First Nations, Metis working group made the case for more education about the continuing impact of hundreds of years of colonization – not just on Aborginal people but also on the non-Aboriginal population.
- and, a “values” group met to set out the fundamental values that should frame the campaign for reducing health inequalities.
The research evidence that demonstrates significant inequalities in health based on income, Aboriginal identity, ethno-cultural status and other factors is overwhelming. However, Canada doesn’t have a national strategy to reduce health inequalities – our national government doesn’t even have a set of targets to reduce health inequality.
Health equity and health inequality continue to be major priorities for the Wellesley Institute. Stay tuned as we post more news about new developments.