Equity Roadmap: Recommendations for equitable COVID-19 pandemic recovery in Canada

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Access to Health Care

Child and Youth Health

Homelessness and Housing

Intimate Partner Violence

Substance Use and Harm Reduction

Read the full CMAJ report, with links to supporting evidence

View a graphic summary of the recommendations

Inequities that were exposed and exacerbated by COVID-19 will continue to threaten health after the pandemic, however Canada does not need to return to an unfair status quo.

In 2020 MAP scientists struck a task force to identify the interventions and policy changes that the science tells us are most likely to address COVID-19-related inequities during Canada’s pandemic recovery period. The task force is led by Canada Research Chair in Health Justice Dr. Nav Persaud, and includes MAP’s leading experts on interventions to address homelessness, income-related health inequities, gender-based violence, childhood health inequities, barriers to health care, and systemic racism.

Based on research conducted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MAP’s Equity Roadmap: Recommendations for equitable COVID-19 pandemic recovery in Canada report is a set of thirteen evidence-based recommendations for governments at all levels across Canada. The recommendations are based on a rigorous review of the literature, with evidence supporting their effectiveness.

To create a healthier future for all, Canada must implement or expand:

1. During the pandemic recovery period, we strongly recommend cash transfers ensuring a living income that allows people to afford basic necessities such as food.

2. During the pandemic recovery period, we strongly recommend the universal availability of unemployment insurance, parental leave and paid sick leave.

3. During the pandemic recovery period, we recommend affordable credit or loans for low-income individuals.

4. During the pandemic recovery period, we strongly recommend the expansion of permanent supportive housing programs with high fidelity to the Housing First approach that entails assertive engagement and case management, less than 30% of income spent on housing, the choice of housing, and the choice of supportive services without coercion to participate for individuals with serious mental health problems or who use substances experiencing homelessness.

The MAPmaking podcast episode 1 explores this recommendation. Listen to “The Right to Housing”

5. During the pandemic recovery period, we recommend expanding access to eviction prevention interventions including access to legal services and financial advice.

6. During the pandemic period, we strongly recommend interventions including legal advocacy and supportive interventions for victims of intimate partner violence.

  • MAP’s Safe at Home project is testing a new intervention that requires the perpetrator to leave the family home, giving survivors of violence the option to remain in place and recover with supports from integrated health, social, police, and legal services.
  • MAP has developed a suite of intimate partner violence screening and safety planning web applications (the WITHWomen Screening App, Pathways Safety Planning App, and PROMISE App) to help women discreetly connect to services.

7. During the pandemic recovery period, we recommend the expansion of publicly funded childcare.

8. During the pandemic recovery period, we recommend healthy food distribution to children.

9. During the pandemic recovery period, we recommend expanding access to opioid substitution therapy and supervised injection sites

10. During the pandemic recovery period, we recommend expanding screening for HIV and HCV among individuals at high-risk.

11. During the pandemic recovery period, we recommend improving the health care of people who are incarcerated.

12. During the pandemic recovery period, we strongly recommend including prescription medicines in Canada’s publicly funded health care system.

Read a series of MAP op-eds exploring this recommendation:

13. During the pandemic recovery period, we strongly recommend reflection and action on multiple prior reports that outlined approaches to addressing anti-Indigenous discrimination, anti-Black racism and other manifestations of racism.


Implementing proven interventions and changes in these areas would help to ensure a healthier future for everyone in Canada, while putting Canada in a better spot to respond to the next pandemic.

Endorsements:

This guideline is endorsed by Black Physicians of Canada, Canadian Doctors for Medicare and the Canadian Medical Association. The College of Family Physicians of Canada supports these recommendations.


Graphic summary of the recommendations:
View a printable PDF

Access to Health Care

Child and Youth Health

Homelessness and Housing

Intimate Partner Violence

Substance Use and Harm Reduction

Dr. Nav Persaud

Dr. Nav Persaud has dedicated his career to narrowing the health gap between the highest and lowest wealth brackets, and to ensuring that everyone in Canada can afford the medication that they need. Dr. Persaud is a Canada Research Chair in Health Justice.

Funders

  • St. Michael's Hospital Foundation

Contact Info

Dr. Nav Persaud