Projects per year
Addressing social determinants of health (SDoH) has been acknowledged as an essential objective for the promotion of both population health and health equity. Extant literature has identified seven potential areas of investment to address SDoH: investments in sexual and reproductive health and family planning, early learning and child care, education, universal health care, as well as investments to reduce child poverty, ensure sustainable economic development, and control health hazards. The aim of this paper is to produce a 'report card' on Canada's success in reducing socioeconomic and health inequities pertaining to these seven policy domains, and to assess how Canadian trends compare to those in the United Kingdom (UK), a country with a similar health and welfare system. Summarising evidence from published studies and national statistics, we found that Canada's best successes were in reducing socioeconomic inequalities in early learning and child care and reproductive health-specifically in improving equity in maternal employment and infant mortality. Comparative data suggest that Canada's outcomes in the latter areas were like those in the UK. In contrast, Canada's least promising equity outcomes were in relation to health hazard control (specifically, tobacco) and child poverty. Though Canada and the UK observed similar inequities in smoking, Canada's slow upward trend in child poverty prevalence is distinct from the UK's small but steady reduction of child poverty. This divergence from the UK's trends indicates that alternative investment types and levels may be needed in Canada to achieve similar outcomes to those in the UK.
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