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Government of Canada helps to address health and social inequities in British Columbia

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

June 17, 2022

Canada is one of the healthiest countries in the world, and everyone in Canada deserves opportunities to thrive and lead a healthy life. The Government of Canada recognizes that every individual should have the resources and opportunities for health and wellbeing and is taking action to address systemic health challenges and barriers.

Health inequities are the systematic, unfair, and avoidable differences in health outcomes. Health inequities have long existed in Canada, but have been even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic disproportionately affected the mental and physical wellbeing of many groups in society, including Indigenous peoples, Black and racialized communities, as well as people from lower income households, children, youth, and seniors.

Today, John Aldag, Member of Parliament for Cloverdale – Langley City, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced an investment of more than $370,000 through the new Intersectoral Action Fund (ISAF) for two organizations based in British Columbia.

Generation Squeeze, based in Metro Vancouver, will receive $249,680 in funding to increase awareness of the importance of social spending for positive health outcomes, and champion the development and use of data on the relationship between social spending and medical care spending to inform policy decisions. This project will work within and across four key sectors – public health, childcare, housing, and poverty reduction – to promote wellbeing in Canada from the early years onwards.

The Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria will receive $122,200 in funding to develop and test a regional strategy for building equity into climate action. The strategy will focus on the intersection between climate and health equity. It will help guide transportation decision-making to maximize the benefits between climate, accessibility, affordability, and health outcomes. This project recognizes that climate change and poverty disproportionally impact vulnerable individuals and are compounded by Indigenous, visible minority, refugee, newcomer, gender, and sexual identity status.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, through the ISAF, is funding projects across the country to improve the conditions for health and the systems and structures that shape them, and to help everyone in Canada reach their full health potential.

Quotes

“Our government is taking action to address complex health inequities so that everyone in Canada can live a healthy life. By supporting projects likes the ones announced today, we can take meaningful steps towards tackling the root cause of health disparities and help improve health outcomes for all.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Generation Squeeze and the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria play an important role in helping the Government of Canada strengthen its efforts to address our country’s complex public health challenges. These projects will help build a healthier future for communities in British Columbia.”

John Aldag
Member of Parliament for Cloverdale – Langley City

“A key lesson from public health is that health doesn’t start with health care.  Data shows that social investments matter more for our health than the money we put into medical care, because health begins where we are born, grow, live, work and age. Our project will help bring these data to life by showcasing that spending on child care is health spending, investments in affordable housing are health spending, and reducing poverty – as we did through the pandemic – is health spending.”

Dr. Paul Kershaw
Founder, Generation Squeeze

“There is a growing recognition across communities that the impacts of climate change and resulting climate emergencies are disproportionately landing on marginalized communities. Tying equity to climate action is crucial for creating solutions that work for all community members, and this funding will help us support municipalities in doing just that.”

Diana Gibson
Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria

Quick facts

  • The ISAF launched in May 2021 to support action on social determinants of health. The Fund helps build capacity in communities to advance intersectoral action on social determinants of health, particularly as they move towards the difficult work of recovering from the pandemic.
  • Social determinants of health refer to the broad range of social, economic and environmental factors that relate to an individual’s place in society (such as gender, race, income, education, or employment) and that determine individual and population health. These determinants are shaped by the distribution of wealth, power, and opportunities within and between populations.
  • Intersectoral action refers to the ways that different groups and sectors of society work together to enhance the health of our communities. The ISAF supports communities to build capacity for such action, and helps ensure that the social determinants of health and health inequities are understood and addressed.
  • Fourteen projects were selected for funding through the ISAF. These projects will address the root causes of long-standing community health challenges or those heightened by COVID-19, or proposed activities that build on or advance intersectoral initiatives to expand their reach or impact.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
[email protected]

Public Inquiries:

613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

COVID-19 public enquiries:

1-833-784-4397

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