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Housing: An area for public health action on equity

Housing: An area for public health action on equity

By Dianne Oickle Dianne Oickle on November 20, 2018

Healthy housing is one of the most fundamental determinants of health and well-being, necessary for preventing ill health and building healthy social and physical environments. Health and housing are directly connected through a complex web of factors including affordability, access, availability, habitability, stability and socioeconomic inequities. [1] Intersectoral collaboration involving both health and non-health sectors — as well as, most importantly, the community — is needed to address the impact of housing on health. [2] Taking action on precarious housing conditions can contribute to improved population health and reduced health inequities. [3

Creating resources to support action of housing insecurity

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) has recently worked with partners to:

  • highlight housing as a social determinant of health;
  • mobilize research for application to public health practice; and
  • profile opportunities for public health action on housing to address population health inequities

Inherent in this focus is the importance of community engagement and providing space for lived experience to influence public health planning and implementation of programs and policies. Three new products have been released by the NCCDH as a knowledge translation package to draw attention to housing as a social determinant of health, the importance of participatory practice and opportunities for public health action.

  1. Housing as a focus for public health action on equity: A curated list (2018)
  2. Towards healthy homes for all: What the RentSafe findings mean for public health in Canada (2018)
  3. Webinar: Participatory practice and health promotion in Canada (2018)

We’d love to hear from you! If you have ideas for how public health practitioners can take action on inadequate and unhealthy housing conditions, let us know by contacting Dianne Oickle, knowledge translation specialist.



[1.] Toronto Public Health. Housing and Health: Unlocking Opportunity. Toronto, ON. Toronto Public Health 2016.

[2.] Waterston S, Grueger B, Samson L. Housing need in Canada: Healthy lives start at home. Paediatr Child Health. 2015; 20(7): 403-407.

[3.] Wellesley Institute. Precarious Housing in Canada. Toronto, ON. Wellesley Institute 2010.


HousingSocioeconomic status