Leadership Centre

Supporting leadership capacity building within Ontario.

Leadership Centre website

Enhancing leadership competencies, facilitating thoughtful discussion and examination of leadership issues for public health professionals.

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Community Food Advisor

Promoting safe and nutritious food selection, preparation and storage practices.

Community Food Advisor website

Community Food Advisors work in their community to improve and promote safe and healthy food selection, preparation, and storage practices.

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Public Health and You

Your questions about public health answered...all in one place.

Public Health and You website

Learn about why public health plays a vital role in ensuring the health of communities across Ontario!

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Ontario Public Health Association

Committed to improving the health of Ontarians.

OPHA website

Since 1949, OPHA has served as a catalyst for development in the Public Health sector.

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Nutrition Resource Centre

Credible public health nutrition at your fingertips.

Nutrition Resource Centre website

Strengthening the capacity of health professionals across all care settings and in all communities across Ontario.

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The OPHA is a not‐for‐profit member‐based association that provides leadership in advancing public health in Ontario. Our Association represents six public and community health disciplines and our membership represents many public health and community health professionals from Ontario. To learn more about us, our structure, strategic direction, or membership, please visit the following links:

The OPHA provides leadership on issues affecting the public's health and works to strengthen the impact of people who are active in public and community health throughout Ontario. For more information, please visit the following pages:

The OPHA creates and maintains advocacy initiatives with a province-wide perspective. For more information, please visit the following pages:

The OPHA leads the development of expertise in public and community health through collaboration, consultation and partnerships. Learn more about our Constituent Societies here.

This is a hub of useful OPHA and partner resources in the field of public health. Resource topics include advocacy, health equity, chronic disease prevention, environmental health, health promotion, and more.

This section includes the latest news about the OPHA and its programs, upcoming OPHA events, and other news of interest to the public health sector. For more information, please visit the following pages:

The OPHA Member’s Lounge is a dedicated space reserved for our OPHA members to store and access important information and exclusive resources. The Lounge includes the following:

This page lists all of this reports, toolkits, or recordings from our most popular live webinars from noted public health figures that are available for purchase in our online store.

What is Health Equity?

What is Health Equity?

OPHA's vision of health equity is that all people (individuals, groups and communities) have a fair chance at reaching their full health potential and are not disadvantaged by social, economic and environmental conditions. 

About Health Equity

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) equity is defined as:

Equity is the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically (WHO, 2017).

Health equity discusses the concept of every person having an equal opportunity to achieve their optimal health. This concept is different than the idea of everyone having equal health, but rather equal access to resources needed to improve or maintain health (WHO, 2017). Health is affected by many factors beyond genetics or healthcare. The social determinants of health describe the phenomenon of how social constructs can also impact health in ways that may be unfair or unjust for certain groups within a population (Solar & Irwin, 2010).

OPHA's Commitment to Health Equity

  • Coming Soon: OPHA Survey Report of Health Equity Work in Public Health Units 


How does Health Equity Apply to Me?

Source: Sudbury & District Public Health Unit. (2012). Let's Start a Conversation About Health...and Not Talk About Health Care at All.

The Social Determinants of Health

The social determinants of health describe factors that exist within social systems that can affect health and wellbeing. They represent circumstances that are shaped by economic, social, and political forces in such a way that may have a differential effect on the health of a population (Solar & Irwin, 2010)
According to The Public Health Agency of Canada (2016), the social determinants of health include:

·         Income and social status
·         Social support networks
·         Education
·         Employment/working conditions
·         Social environments
·         Physical environments
·         Personal health practices and coping skills
·         Healthy child development
·         Gender
·         Culture

The Social Determinants of Health Inequity

The social determinants of health inequity describe the political, economic, cultural, and social contexts that make it such that a social position arises to interact with the social determinants of health, placing some of the population at a disadvantage relative to others (Solar & Irwin, 2010). 

Figure adapted from the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy’s simplified representation of Solar & Irwin’s (2010) CSDH WHO Conceptual Framework (Morrison, 2017).


Organizations Working to Advance Health Equity


Tools and Resources

A Conceptual Framework for Action on the Social Determinants of Health (World Health Organization)

Common Agenda for Public Health Action on Health Equity (National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health)

Communicating the Social Determinants of Health: Guidelines for Common Messaging (Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health)

Health Equity Impact Assessment (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)

Health Promotion through an Equity Lens (Wellesley Institute)

International Review of Health Equity Strategies (Wellesley Institute for Health Quality Ontario)

Let’s Talk Public Health Roles for Improving Health Equity (National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health)

Planning through an equity lens: Incorporating the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) 2.0 Tool (Public Health Ontario and Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion)
Ten Promising Practices to Guide Local Public Health Practice to Reduce Social Inequities in Health (Sudbury and District Public Health)
The Diversity and Inclusion Lens Handbook (City of Ottawa and City for All Women Initiative (CAWI))
Tools and Approaches for Assessing and Supporting Public Health Action on the Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity (National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health and National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy)



Interested in getting involved? Cet in touch with us! 

Upcoming events

7th Learning Retreat for Dietitians
OPHA Lean Sigma White Belt Workshop
OPHA Lean Sigma Yellow Belt Workshop 2017