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Canada communicable disease report: Social determinants of health

This resource is also available in French.

Some population groups are more likely than others to be exposed to and experience infectious disease, thereby experiencing a higher burden of disease. Groups who are more vulnerable due to structural inequities are more likely to contract infectious disease, get sicker, and take longer to recover.

Public health efforts to prevent and control infectious disease can consider existing health inequities and underlying social determinants of health in all aspects including surveillance, access to services, prioritization, training, mitigation and prevention.

Social determinants of health and infectious disease

The Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR) is a peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The CCDR 2016 supplement titled Social determinants of health is a full issue of this journal dedicated to examining the association of the social determinants of health and health equity with infectious disease and the implications for population health.

In addition to a brief overview of the importance and opportunity for public health to address health equity, this supplemental journal provides several articles that can inform public health priorities and planning, including:

  • the economic burden of communicable disease inequalities;
  • what public health can do to address inequities in infectious disease rates; and
  • the importance of intersectoral action to address the complex web of social determinants of health related to infectious disease.

Examples of research/program trials are profiled, as well as useful links for public notifications and best practices in addressing the social determinants of health.

Use this resource to

  • facilitate discussion about how socioenvironmental conditions create unequal risk and burden of infectious disease;
  • explore how to shift public health workplans to address inequities in infectious disease rates for populations who experience structural marginalization; and
  • identify intersectoral partners that can facilitate engagement with communities disproportionately affected by infectious disease.


Public Health Agency of Canada. (2016). Canada Communicable Disease Report: Social Determinants of Health. CCDR Supplement; 42:S1.

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Tags: Healthy public policy, Infectious disease, Intersectoral action, Participate in policy development, Public Health Agency of Canada