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Taking Pride in Our Equity Work

As a leader in health and wellness, Ontario Health is committed to reducing health inequities for all.

Improving health equity and outcomes for Two-Spirit, gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) communities, among other equity-deserving groups, is one of our most fundamental priorities as an organization.

Because of our mandate, Ontario Health can be powerful in setting a strong precedent for what it means to deliver equitable care to everybody. Our obligations are spelled out in our mandate letter from the Minister of Health and our Annual Business Plan. Both emphasize the need to reduce health disparities for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. Further to that, as health system leaders, we have a duty of care we need to fulfill.

Equity is at the foundation of all our work. We currently have several initiatives and programs that specifically aim to improve health outcomes and access to care for 2SLGBTQIA+ people in Ontario.

Defining High-Quality Care

In Ontario, gender-diverse people experience inequities in accessing health care, which negatively affects their experiences of the health care system and their health outcomes. We are currently developing a quality standard and patient guide for gender-diverse adults (i.e., people whose gender identity or expression differs from the gender typically attributed to the sex assigned to them at birth). This quality standard will focus on gender affirming care and primary care needs of gender-diverse adults. Like all our quality standards, it will help people know what to ask for in their care, help clinicians know what care they should be offering, and help health care organizations improve the quality of care they provide. Importantly, the standard is based on evidence, expert consensus and advice from people with lived experience, including patients, care partners, researchers and clinicians.

Our guidelines for breast cancer and cervical screening for transgender people provides specific evidence-informed screening recommendations that aim to minimize barriers to breast screening for Two-Spirit, trans and nonbinary people and support their inclusion in the Ontario Breast Screening Program. In October 2023, the program began screening Two-Spirit, trans and nonbinary people in accordance with updated eligibility criteria.

Recognizing the importance of inclusive language in supporting better health outcomes for everyone, the Ontario Cervical Screening Program and Ontario Breast Screening Program completed a review of all cervical and breast screening letters and updated them to use gender-inclusive language in February 2024.

Partnerships across the health sector are also critical to our success. Ontario Health partners with Rainbow Health Ontario to build system capacity to advance 2SLGBTQIA+ health equity though resource and education development (including podcasts and training). Similarly, the Ontario Government recently invested $12.5 million to connect Black children, youth and their families, as well as 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, to mental health services across the province, enabled through partnerships with health service providers.

Core Culture

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is at the core of Ontario Health’s culture. Within our organization, we are proud to offer team members the opportunity to join our Pride in Health community of inclusion. This group aims to support 2SLGBTQIA+ team members by creating spaces to build community and relationships, discuss shared experiences, promote organizational inclusion and awareness, and organize events and discussions for the broader Ontario Health community.

During Pride month, and all year round, Ontario Health stands in solidarity with 2SLGBTQIA+ people and reaffirms our commitment to support everyone’s right to be authentic, to love and be loved, and to live life filled with respect and dignity.

Last Updated: June 3, 2024