Show Navigation

Resource Library

Trends in Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada: Summary Report

The Trends in Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada project examines whether the health gaps between lower- and higher-income individuals have changed over the past decade. The summary report is an easy to access overview of the findings. It is supported by the Health Inequalities Interactive Tool, which provides a series of visualizations representing inequalities related to nine health indicators, by sex and by province or territory. The technical report provides additional analysis, interpretation and contextual information for 16 health indicators.

The evidence in this report indicates that inequalities are persistent in Canada. Over the past decade, little or no progress has been made in reducing inequalities in health by income level in Canada. Since the early 2000s, inequalities widened for three of the 16 health indicators studied (smoking, COPD hospitalization and self-rated mental health) and did not change for 11 of them. While inequalities did narrow for the remaining two indicators, this was the result of an undesirable “levelling down” effect — in other words, health worsened among the richest Canadians while there was no change among the lowest income group.

The report concludes that while specific policies and programs can be implemented to mitigate health inequalities, major progress is unlikely without addressing the broader array of social determinants of health.

To support exploration and use of the data, CIHI has created a number of tools that can be accessed from their site:

  • Health inequalities interactive tool — to help you explore the data for your region and compare changes with other regions over time
  • Data tables — in Excel format that you can download and use for your own analysis
  • Info graphics — to help communicate the data on smoking, COPD and self-rated mental health
  • Companion products — including provincial and territorial highlights, methodology notes and indicator definitions


Canadian Institute for Health Information. Trends in Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada: Summary Report. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2015.

Related resources:

Tags: Assess and report, Communicate, Methods & tools, Document

Sign up for our E-News

* indicates required
I would Like to Receive Email Updates on: