Posted: December 5th, 2022

Social Determinants of Health in Canada Essay

The Social Determinants of Health

The primary elements and factors that are responsible for shaping the health of individuals is highly dependent on the living conditions that surround them. The overall well-being of a person begins in their homes and areas of residence as well as in their immediate communities. The access to economic and social opportunities is what makes one health care system different from another. This explains why the environment in which one person lives can be deemed much healthier when contrasted with another. This brings into perspective the social determinants of health that evaluate the environment and conditions in which people live and interact with one another. This Social Determinants of Health in Canada Essay paper is an essay that explains the significance of the social determinants of health with regards to the inequalities that are present in the Canadian medical care system.


Task for the essay

Define and explain the significance of the social determinants of health. How is this connected to an understanding of social and health inequalities in Canadian society?

Body of the essay

The systems and forces that are involved in shaping the quality of life of an individual revolve around the places of residence as well as their work stations. It is a well-known fact that good health begins in the homes, schools and neighborhoods because these are the areas where people spend most of their time (Quesnel, 2015). This is where social determinants of health gain utmost importance because they evaluate the different environments in which people live and relate them to the quality of their health and overall wellness. Moreover, these determinants look at where a person was born, where they live, what they eat, where they work and whom they interact with on a daily basis (Baugh and Smith, 2014) Social Determinants of Health in Canada Essay.

These factors are then paralleled or compared with their health and conclusions are drawn on how each factor affects another one. Canada is one of the countries that understands very well the social determinants of health are the role they play in ensuring that people’s welfare is safeguarded (Carey and Crammond, 2015). This country has illustrated that it intends to apply this model in a large-scale manner so that it can reduce the inequalities that are present in its health care systems. The majority of Canadian citizens clearly understand that the health of a person is largely shaped by their income status and wealth distribution (Quesnel, 2015). This assertion is supported by the social determinants of health that take very diverse forms in all communities and societies.

Figure 1: Diagram showing the various components that make up the social determinants of health (SDOH)

An analysis into these determinants would show that the availability of resources that enable a person to meet their daily needs such as food, decent shelter and even clothing is highly responsible for knowing the outcome of one’s state of health. This is because people that are not able to afford good housing or even proper diets are easily prone to developing lifestyle diseases (Mitrou et al, 2014). Likewise, the ability of people to access a well-paying job or pursue higher education is another important social determinant of health.

This aspect can be clearly seen when one compares and contrasts people that are earning good salaries and have disposable income vis-à-vis those that do not (Raphael, 2015). It becomes clear that people with higher salaries or remuneration packages are better placed to afford healthy meals, foods and even pay for the best medical insurance package. The opposite is true when it comes to those people that lack a source of income as they cannot be able to pay or afford all these services and provisions (Buer et al, 2015).

This Social Determinants of Health in Canada Essay example is present in the Canadian society where people that belong to the upper or middle income classes are the ones that have the best meals, decent housing and even access to the local markets. On the contrary, the Canadian citizens that do not have enough money cannot be able to afford the same. This explains why they live in dilapidated conditions while most of their meals are not balanced diets (Quesnel, 2015).

This introduces the aspect of inequality in health care as illustrated in towns such as Winnepeg in Canada. The social determinants of health in Canada total up to fourteen elements that are the government tries to streamline them through different policy programs. These determinants are divided into cultural, environmental, structural and situational categories so that each of them is clearly and deeply understood (Quesnel, 2015). From these categories, it is clear that poverty is one of the setbacks that limits a person’s access to food or even the ability to live in a safe neighborhood. This is why the Canadian government places a lot of emphasis in promoting the quality of life by addressing the social determinants of health through focusing on the key priority areas.

In conclusion, the ability of any human being to maintain a high state of health is largely determined by their immediate social environment Social Determinants of Health in Canada Essay. The conditions that define where a person lives, works or even interacts in collectively contribute to defining the social determinants of health. The latter is also made up the income status of a person, their race, state of housing and working conditions. These determinants are present in the Canadian society and they have been shown to be responsible for the inequalities in health care access and affordability. It should be the obligation of every government to ensure that they address the social determinants of health and try to streamline them such that every person can have decent medical attention.


Baugh Littlejohns, L., & Smith, N. (2014). Building bridges between health promotion and social sustainability: an analysis of municipal policies in Western Canada. Local Environment, 19(4), 449-468.

Buer, G. R., Scheim, A. I., Pyne, J., Travers, R., & Hammond, R. (2015). Intervenable factors associated with suicide risk in transgender persons: a respondent driven sampling study in Ontario, Canada. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1-15.

Carey, G., & Crammond, B. (2015). Systems change for the social determinants of health. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1-10.

Mitrou, F., Cooke, M., Lawrence, D., Povah, D., Mobilia, E., Guimond, E., & Zubrick, S. R. (2014). Gaps in Indigenous disadvantage not closing: a census cohort study of social determinants of health in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand from 1981–2006.BMC Public Health, 14(1), 1-17.

Quesnel-Vallée, A. (2015). Policies and Health Inequalities: State of the Field and Future Directions. Canadian Public Policy,41S1-S9.

Raphael, D. (2015). The Political Economy of Health: A Research Agenda for Addressing Health Inequalities in Canada.Canadian Public Policy, 41S17-S25.

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