Health Equity


Welcome to the Health Equity for All Tool!

The Health Equity tool is here to guide you in making your programs, services, and activities better for all who access them. Hover over each population name on the image below for a selection of resources to help you understand and serve that population better, as well as find local agencies focused on doing the same.

Seeking partnerships but aren’t sure where to start? Visit The HealthLine or 211 to learn more about programs and services available in Bruce County, Grey County, and across the province.


Health Equity Wheel

People with Disabilities Health Equity Tool People With Low Literacy First Nations Inuit and Metis Youth Refugees Older Adults Ethno-Cultural Groups Residents of Rural Areas People with Low Income Immigrants Newcomers Lesbian/Gay Bisexual Transgender Women Education Money Language Food Housing Affordability Social Justice Availability Community Behaviour Transportation

Welcome to the Health Equity for All: Grey & Bruce tool

The Health Equity tool is here to guide you in making your programs, services, and activities better for all who access them. Hover over each population name for resources to help you understand and serve that group better, as well as find local agencies focused on doing the same.

Need support but aren’t sure where to start? Visit or call 211 to learn more about programs and services available in Bruce County, Grey County, and across the province.

People with Disabilities & Health Equity

Learn More:

Create Health Equity for People with Disability

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Community Living: Owen Sound and District

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples & Health Equity

Indigenous Equity (IND-Equity) and inequities are distinct from those experienced by non-Indigenous peoples. Factors such as colonization and the decimation of culture underlie health experiences of many Indigenous peoples.

Learn More:

Health Inequalities and Social Determinants of Aboriginal People’s Health

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

M’Wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre

Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre

Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation

Great Lakes Metis Council

Saugeen First Nation

Youth & Health Equity

Learn More:

Diversity Snapshot: Youth

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services

WES for Youth Online

The Grey Bruce We C.A.R.E Project

People with Low Literacy & Health Equity

One’s proficiency in reading, writing, and solving problems has a significant impact on capacity to make decisions related to health. Use plain language written at an appropriate literacy level to make client and public resources more accessible.

Learn More:

The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Connect through The HealthLine

Literacy and Basic Skills at Georgian College

Refugees & Health Equity

Learn More:

Health Equity for Immigrants and Refugees: Driving Policy Action

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Grey Bruce Newcomers Network

Older Adults & Health Equity

Learn More:

Diversity Snapshot: Seniors

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Council on Aging Grey Bruce Owen Sound

Ethno-Racial/Racialized Groups & Health Equity

Learn More:

Racial Equity Tools

Health Equity and Racialized Groups: A Literature Review, 2011

Residents of Rural Areas & Health Equity

Learn More:

The Huron County Healthy Rural Policy Lens

Pierre’s Story: The Many Costs of Rural Living (video)

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Bruce & Grey Community Information

People Living with Low Income & Health Equity

Learn More:

Equity and Inclusion for People Living in Poverty

Income and Health

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force

United Way of Bruce Grey

Immigrants, Newcomers & Health Equity

Learn More:

Health Equity for Immigrants and Refugees: Driving Policy Action

Resources in Grey County & Bruce County:

Connect through 211

Women & Health Equity

Education & Health Equity

“… length and quality of education is crosscutting — it predicts employment and income, which influences where someone can live and if they can afford health care. Education is not just about what is learned in the classroom; it is also about the doors it unlocks to future well-being.”
The Nation's Health - Education attainment linked to health throughout lifespan


Children who participate in quality early childhood development (pre-school) programs have significantly better socioeconomic, educational, and emotional developmental outcomes. CDPAC Position Statement

Housing & Health Equity

Safe and affordable housing is an absolute necessity for living a healthy life.  The presence of mould, poor heating, inadequate ventilation, pests and overcrowding are all determinants of adverse health outcomes.  Children who live in low quality housing condition have a greater likelihood of poor health outcomes as children and also later in adulthood. The Canadian Facts


Housing is unaffordable when it costs more than 30% of your income.  As a result, it is difficult to purchase other necessities such as food, transit, clothing and essentials.  CMHC - About Affordable Housing in Canada

Money & Health Equity

… none of these compares to the way that poverty makes us sick. Prescribing medications and lifestyle changes for our patients who suffer from income deficiency isn’t enough; we need to start prescribing healthy incomes. The Star - Basic Income, Just What the Doctor Ordered


The direct cost of chronic diseases accounts for about 58% of the annual health care spending in our country… up to 80% were seen to improve as family income increases.” CDPAC Position Statement


Poorer people in cities with more equal sharing of income, are healthier and live longer than richer people in cities with less sharing of income (p16). Are Widening Income Inequalities Making Canada Less Healthy? How much are resources shared in the community you live in?

Language & Health Equity

Improving Health Equity through Language Access: A Model for Integrated Language Services throughout the Toronto Central LHIN


Just like in legal settings, a patient’s ability to understand and participate in their own health care is critical. Yet, many Ontarians do not have access to care in a language that they understand. >The Right to Language Accessibility in Ontario’s Health Care System

Food & Health Equity

The Grey Bruce Food Charter is “a guiding document to assist in the development of policies and programs to promote a health and just food system in Grey and Bruce Counties. The Charter acknowledges the for all to food.”


“Twenty-one food banks, eighteen Good Food Box sites, seventy-two Ontario Student Nutrition Programs and many other supports exist in Grey Bruce to combat food insecurity. But, these programs only offer temporary assistance; they do not address the root cause of the issue, poverty. After rent and other expenses, many households do not have enough money to buy food and they become ‘Food Insecure’.” GBHU News Release - Fighting Food Insecurity


Household food insecurity - the inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints – is a serious public health problem in Canada. PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research

Affordability & Health Equity

Social Justice & Health Equity

Behaviour & Health Equity

Transportation & Health Equity

Community & Health Equity

Availability & Health Equity

Image adapted with permission from the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Public Health and Emergency Services) and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.


Equality doesn’t mean Equity

Equity is the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically. Health inequities therefore involve more than inequality with respect to health determinants, access to the resources needed to improve and maintain health or health outcomes. They also entail a failure to avoid or overcome inequalities that infringe on fairness and human rights norms”. – World Health Organization


Equality visual

Equity Visual


Toward Health Equity

Health is influenced by much more than just the healthcare system. This means that stakeholders across many sectors play a role in creating the conditions that lead to (and don’t lead to) health. The way that communities are built and the resources available within those communities are two important indicators of health. Strong health for all requires supportive environments.

A Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach recognizes that all sectors, and especially those outside of direct health services, influence health behaviours and health outcomes.  Health is influenced by the way that communities are planned and built, as well as by the services and resources available within them. Health equity requires that all community members – including low income residents, children, seniors, newcomers, Indigenous people, and people with physical and mental health issues – have access to those features of the built environment that support health and wellness.


Considering The 5 Key Questions

When designing policies and programs, or making changes to those that already exist, consider these 5 key questions to ensure that you are using a health equity perspective.

If you are making changes for a group or organization, consider the system perspective.

If you are making changes in work you do directly with clients, patients, or other individuals, consider the individual perspective. These are questions that can be asked of the stakeholders that will personally experience the proposed change.

System Perspective
a) Are all who may be impacted engaged in the planning process?
b) What are the roles of each stakeholder?
c) Have we used a broad lens to ensure perspectives cross sectors/silos?
d) Have we engaged patients, clients, or others who will experience the impact?

Individual Perspective
a) Were you included in the discussion?
b) Is everyone included that you want (e.g., personally, professionally)

System Perspective
a) What do the organization and community consider the critical factors for success?
b) Have we completed the HEIA to identify possible negative impacts and plan for mitigation?

Individual Perspective
a) Have you asked the stories of people with lived experience? Do you understand what is important to those you serve?
b) What is the goal that you want to achieve? What is most important to individuals you serve?
c) What steps are important to getting to that goal?
d) What is important to providers? Is it the same as what the individual(s) wants to achieve?
e) What screening tools can be used to better understand someone’s current situation?

System Perspective
a) What is the immediate impact to core agencies and system users?
b) What are the ripple effects to other agencies and the community?
c) Have we clearly identified the positive and negative impacts? Do we have a plan to mitigate negative impacts?

Individual Perspective
a) How will this affect you?
b) How will this impact those immediately around you?
c) What are the positive impacts that we can leverage to help you drive the change?
d) What are the negative impacts and how can we reduce them?

System Perspective
a) Are all the players willing to move this ahead?
b) What are the barriers?
c) Are there funding or other systems (political, social) that need to be overcome to make this achievable?

Individual Perspective
a) Is it a realistic goal or set of goals?
b) Do you have what you need to achieve it?
c) What things or people do you need to support you to achieve it?
d) How confident are you that you can achieve your goal?

System Perspective
a) What other key players do we have to engage before we can move ahead (political, funders, etc.)?
b) Are there data or supportive information that we need before moving ahead?
C) What does implementation look like?

Individual Perspective
a) What actions do you need to take to move toward your change goal(s)?
b) What do you need to help you move ahead with your change goal(s)?
c) Do you feel ready to work toward your change goal(s)?


Additional Health Equity Resources

When working with individuals, small steps toward health equity can be achieved. Consider the factors displayed on the tool (above) as a starting point for learning about barriers that community members may face, as well as how to reduce those barriers. The following resources can be used as tools for equity-informed practice at the individual level:  

Measuring Health Equity: Demographic Data Collection in Health Care

From the Margins to the Middle: D.I.Y. Health Equity Kit

“Let’s Talk” Health Equity

Health Equity Impact Assessment (Ministry of Health & Long Term Care)

Health Equity Impact Assessment (Wellesley Institute)

“While leadership at the top of an organization is needed to support health equity action, champions in other parts of the organization need to be supported when they assume leadership in their management of health equity projects and programs” Public Health Speaks: Leadership for Health Equity [video]


Tools & Training Opportunities

Would you like a hard copy of the Health Equity Tool?

Are you interested in health equity tool training for your organization?

Send us an e-mail and a member of the Moving Health Equity Forward Team will be in touch.


Check back for a training video in June 2018



The Health Equity Tool was developed with support from Health Link Grey Bruce through a collaborative of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force.

Health LinkBruce Grey Poverty Task Force


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