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December 7 2018

PHESC is addressing three OPHS Foundational Standards, including Health Equity.

Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA, and a concept distinct from Health Impact Assessment [HIA], which is also a PHESC topic) is part of the learning pathway for health equity. In the words of its developers (the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care):

  • HEIA is a decision support tool which walks users through the steps of identifying how a program, policy or similar initiative will impact population groups in different ways. HEIA surfaces unintended potential impacts. The end goal is to maximize positive impacts and reduce negative impacts that could potentially widen health disparities between population groups—in short, more equitable delivery of the program, service, policy etc. Effective use of HEIA is dependent on good evidence. 

  • L'évaluation de l'impact sur l'équité en matière de santé (EIES) est un outil de prise de décision qui guide les utilisateurs, étape par étape, tout au long du processus permettant de déterminer l'impact d'un programme, d'une politique ou d'une initiative sur les groupes de population. L’EIES couvre les impacts potentiels involontaires. L'objectif ultime consiste à maximiser les impacts positifs et à réduire les impacts négatifs qui pourraient éventuellement approfondir les disparités en matière de santé entre les groupes de population — autrement dit, assurer une meilleure équité à l'application d'un programme, d'un service ou d'une politique. L'utilisation efficace de l'EIES repose sur de bons éléments de preuve.

Here are selected (there will be more to come!) resources and training opportunities on HEIA  from PHESC partners:

  • Public Health Ontario has an online Health Impact Assessment course(en anglais seulement). The course begins by exploring key concepts related to equity and the social determinants of health. The course goes on to examine the HEIA tool in more detail and provide you with opportunities to reflect on how you might apply it to your own practice. You will go through a series of guided steps to plan for your HEIA and begin to fill out the HEIA template for your own initiative.

  • The Wellesley Institute has two recorded webinars on HEIA topics:
    • Using Health Equity Impact Assessments in policy making and policy analysis
      Steve Barnes, Director of Policy at the Wellesley Institute, will give an overview of using Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) tools in policy making and policy analysis. Policy decisions made far beyond the health care system can have significant health implications. Decisions about housing, income, education, or other underlying determinants of health can have significant health impacts for vulnerable or marginalized populations. Steve will explain why policy makers should use HEIAs and will present examples of policy-oriented HEIAs completed by the Wellesley Institute.
    • Using Health Equity Impact Assessments: Developing Effective Mitigation Strategies in a Public Policy Context
      This webinar will explore step three of the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA). We will examine our process for developing effective public policy mitigation strategies to address inequalities in home and community care for ethnically and linguistically diverse seniors in the GTA. 


The HEIA tool itself is available on the MOHLTC website. There is also a French Language Services Supplement that has been developed for MOHLTC and LHIN staff who have distinct responsibilities under the French Language Services Act, and a Public Health Unit Supplement that has been developed for Public Health Units.

L'outil d'évaluation de l’impact sur l’équité en matière de santé (EIES) du MSSLD est disponible sur le site web du MSSLD. Un Supplément concernant les services en français (SEF) a également été conçu à l'intention des membres du personnel du MSSLD et des RLISS qui ont des responsabilités distinctes en vertu de la Loi sur les services en français. Un Supplément destiné aux bureaux de santé publique (BSP) a également été conçu pour les BSP dans l’application de l’EIES.


Beyond PHESC: December 7th

The HEIA Community of Interest is co-hosting a webinar with the Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Project: Reducing barriers to healthcare access for immigrant and refugees communities | 12 December 2018, 12:00pm to 12:30pm EST - Register here

  • Newcomers face many challenges while adapting to their new home and navigating systemic barriers. These post-migration stressors significantly impact their wellbeing. Refugees tend to be more vulnerable to poorer health outcomes upon arrival than immigrants as a result of several factors, including: needing to flee their homes due to persecution, war or violence; having lived in refugee camps; and being forced to separate from family. In addition, refugees face barriers to accessing needed healthcare services in Canada, such as immigration status, poverty, competing priorities, lack of information on services, and cultural and linguistic barriers.
  • In this webinar, we will explore:
    • How immigrants and refugees can be negatively impacted, often inadvertently, when interacting with the healthcare system
    • How healthcare providers can help mitigate these barriers to enhance health equity to newcomer populations.