April 16th, 2020

Race-based data critical in Ontario’s fight against COVID-19: NDP

QUEEN’S PARK – Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, is calling on the Ford government to listen to experts and collect race and socio-demographic data on COVID-19. Horwath said this is critical to preventing worse health outcomes for racialized Ontarians during the pandemic.

In the United Sates, data collected from many urban centres have shown an alarming trend of disproportionate COVID-19 deaths and infection rates amongst Black populations. It’s unclear whether this could be the case in Ontario, because the province isn’t collecting race-based health data.

“Black, Indigenous and racialized Ontarians were already suffering from poorer health outcomes and barriers to access before the province was thrust into a pandemic,” said Horwath. “Now we’re seeing troubling signs in other places that these inequities — and the worse health outcomes that come with them —are continuing unchecked with the spread of COVID-19.”

Health experts have long advocated for the government to include race and socio-demographic information when it collects health data in order to fight inequity in health care. The Toronto Central LHIN has been collecting race and socio-demographic data since 2010.

“It’s time for the province to start collecting data on how racialized Ontarians are experiencing COVID-19,” said Horwath. “Without a complete picture of how we’re doing, we can’t make decisions that ensure the best possible health outcomes for everyone so we can get through this pandemic together.”