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Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts (second edition)

This resource is available in English only.

Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts (second edition)* was written to spark research, advocacy, debate and meaningful action on the social and economic factors that shape the health of Canadians.

Stress and the social determinants of health

This resource begins by outlining the pathways through which adverse social and economic conditions give rise to stress, and how that stress in turn harms health.

The authors then explore the 17 social determinants of health listed below. For each, they consider how Canada compares to other developed nations, while also listing policy implications and identifying key sources.  

  • Income and Income Distribution
  • Education
  • Unemployment and Job Security
  • Employment and Working Conditions 
  • Early Childhood Development 
  • Food Insecurity 
  • Housing
  • Social Exclusion
  • Social Safety Net
  • Health Services 
  • Geography
  • Disability
  • Indigenous Ancestry
  • Gender
  • Immigration
  • Race
  • Globalization 

The second edition of this book includes comments about the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the social determinants of health in Canada. The authors have updated the original list of determinants, shifting language from Aboriginal status to Indigenous ancestry, including new sections on  geography, globalization and immigration. Finally, the second edition concludes with analysis of the welfare state.

Use this resource to:

  • reflect on the relationship between the social determinants of health, stress and health;
  • develop a strong background on the social determinants of health in Canada; and
  • facilitate research, advocacy, debate, and policy action related to  the social determinants of health.

*To access to the first edition of Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts, visit


Related resources

Just societies: Health equity and dignified lives (2019)

Foundational documents in health equity: A curated list (2014)

A review of frameworks on the determinants of health (2015)

Social determinants, health equity, and mental health: A curated list (2019)


Raphael, D., Bryant, T., Mikkonen, J., & Raphael, A. (2020). Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts. Oshawa, ON: Ontario Tech University Faculty of Health Sciences and Toronto, ON: York University School of Health Policy and Management. Retrieved from

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