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Ontario, Ottawa say they’re looking at collecting race-based COVID data

Ontario, Ottawa say they’re looking at collecting race-based COVID data

Apparently everyone is in favour, including leaders in racial communities, so both the federal and Ontario governments say they’re now getting ready to collect race-based health data as part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Human rights commissions from across Canada have added their voices to those of municipalities, health advocates and elected officials calling for the collection of raced-based COVID-19 data to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected.

“Colour-blind approaches to health only serve to worsen health outcomes for black, Indigenous and racialized people because we can’t address what we can’t see,” said B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender.

Federal, provincial and territorial human rights commissions say that collecting pandemic data without breakdowns by race leaves public health officials with no window into COVID-19’s impact on vulnerable populations.

Both the federal and Ontario governments said that while they normally do not collect race-based health data, they are working on plans to start doing so now.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said that local health agencies in the province can collect race-based data legally now, should they choose to do so, providing they respect privacy and confidentiality.

‘We are working with the anti-racism directorate to set up a broader framework in order to collect that in a meaningful way. It is something that we are working on as an active project.”

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