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Canadian Public Health Association

CPHA statement against racism

10 June 2020

We are all deeply troubled by recent events involving the tragic killings. These brutal and unconscionable acts remind us of the individual and systemic racism that exists and that results in negative health outcomes for those affected.

Racism is insidious and affects all aspects of life; however, these relationships are difficult to track in Canada as surveillance data does not regularly record race or ethnicity statistics. Data from the United States shows that racism is correlated to poorer health outcomes for those subject to the behaviour, with the strongest and most consistent findings associating the results of racist behaviours with negative mental health outcomes, negative physical health outcomes, and negative health-related behaviours.

In its 2018 position statement, the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) acknowledged that we are all either overtly or inadvertently racist and that the influence of this racism negatively affects the health of individuals and populations.

As an Association, CPHA is committed to eliminating any racist processes within the Association and advocating for the elimination of racist and oppressive systems, laws, regulations and policies in Canada’s public institutions and society in general.

Recognizing CPHA’s commitment to health equity, anti-racism and reconciliation, we advocate for a nimble response to collaborating with and being accountable to communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 to ensure the collection and responsible use of race and socio-demographic data that will enable appropriate service response during this and upcoming waves of COVID-19.

Canada should be a country where every person has the ability to reach their full health potential regardless of their colour, religion, culture or ethnic origin. Steps are required by all levels of government, organizations and citizens to identify and take corrective action to eliminate racist behaviours. These actions are neither simple nor easy, but they are essential if Canada is to become the inclusive nation that is embodied in its Constitution.