Ontario To Begin Collecting Race Data During Coronavirus Pandemic


Ontario will soon start collecting race data during the COVID-19 pandemic to better understand how communities are affected by the virus.

The announcement was made during the province’s health update on Wednesday, when the chief medical officer of health said the province would begin this process soon, after consultants said there was a need to collect socioeconomic status (SES) data.

“Not just to collect it, but how are you going to use it to change your policy and target your programs on unique parameters,” said Dr. David Williams. “The racial ones too. We want to know which ones in Canada are important to us, so as to inform program or policy decisions, but not really encourage any kind of racial profiling in this regard. “

Dr Williams said the data could also help identify populations at risk, especially as public health measures are relaxed and more efforts are focused on containment.

Most recently, public health units in Toronto and the Region of Peel announced that their offices will begin collecting ethno-racial data to better inform regions’ response to the virus.

Provincial health officials say questions will be added to the current patient questionnaire, adding that they will work with health equity experts to better inform their data collection process.

“We have worked on the questions that should be asked and are in the process of adding them to the basic questions asked by a health service,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Assistant Chief Medical Officer of Health. “These will be questions which will be answered on a voluntary basis as they are not included in anti-racism legislation. “

In the United States, some states report that African Americans contract and die from the virus at higher rates. Officials say the data collected in these regions helps create policies with these communities in mind.

In previous weeks, CityNews asked the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care why the province doesn’t collect race-based data.

A spokesperson said it was because health was not included in the anti-racism law which allows governments to “make racial data collection compulsory through regulation to measure and measure fight systemic racism ”.


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