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Context

Ontario’s diverse and racialized communities face significant health disparities, resulting in poorer health outcomes and lived experiences compared to non-racialized Ontario residents. These communities bear disproportionate levels of chronic diseases such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, mental illness, diabetes, hypertension, HIV and AIDS, and various cancers. The lack of targeted and culturally appropriate responses leads to soaring costs to Ontario’s healthcare and social service systems. Recent demographic data in Ontario have highlighted the alarming disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on racialized populations, with infection and death rates 5-7 times greater than non-racialized populations. It is the responsibility and obligation of the Government of Ontario to work with communities to address this public health crisis. Through the Racialized Health Working Group, we aim to facilitate this process by creating mechanisms to allow for community input on solutions and strategies.

Project Proposal

Racialized communities are the fastest-growing and a significant driver of Ontario’s population growth. The increasing diversity of the province’s population and the persistence of health disparities among racialized (Black, South Asian, Indigenous, Asian, and Hispanic) communities create heavy users of Ontario’s health and social services, resulting in unacceptable health outcomes and significantly increased costs to our health and social service systems.

The Racialized Health Working Group (RHWG) proposes to create systemic changes in healthcare in Ontario by addressing health disparities in racialized communities. RHWG currently consists of five core partners: Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), Canadian Arab Institute (CAI), Chinese Canadian National Council – Toronto Chapter (CCNC-TO), Hispanic Development Council (HDC), and Roots Community Services (Roots). We will also leverage our extended networks to consult with organizations such as the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), Black Health Alliance (BHA), Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS), and Sickle Cell Awareness Group Ontario (SCAGO). These networks will ensure engagement with diverse racialized communities that will inform the proposal emerging from this project.

Project Goals

Foster Community Engagement

Gather insights from all racialized communities represented in the formalized RHWG to develop population-specific/ culturally appropriate health equity strategies and policies.

Proposal Revision

Revise the Proposal to the Ministry of Health with community input and the latest data, including race-based COVID and vaccination data from Ontario’s public health units.

Raise Awareness

Promote community understanding of the importance of targeted health equity initiatives for racialized communities and the need for race-based disaggregated data collection.

Advocacy Campaign

Launch an advocacy campaign aimed at educating policy and decision-makers at the Ministry of Health about the significance of adopting proposal recommendations derived from this project.

Core Partnerships

Additional Collaborators

Funders