Mandate the collection of disaggregated health data for Canadians during COVID-19

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As an infectious disease, Coronavirus does not care about race, ethnicity or class. However, we know our healthcare system and social infrastructures do, thus driving marginalized communities to be further disproportionately affected and underserved.  

With the infection spreading at an exponential rate across the country, it is important to know who is receiving care and who is not. Data collection plays an essential role in the identification of vulnerabilities that may be fatal in the distribution of care and treatment for the novel virus patients. Canada’s impedance with collecting meaningful health data is harmful as it creates a challenge in developing policies that are responsive to documented disparities.

If there is not a greater emphasis on the collection of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status, policymakers and healthcare professionals will not have an accurate understanding of which communities are being over-represented. During this pandemic, the most effective policies and regulations created will be those that factor in how the pandemic is experienced by different community markups. In the United States, data collection from many metropolitan cities has shown an alarming trend of disproportionate deaths and infection rates amongst Black populations. In Chicago alone, Black Americans account for 72% of all COVID19 related deaths and 52% of positive tests despite being only 32% of the city’s population. Comparatively, there is no Canadian data that analyzes testing, treatment and mortality based on identity markers. For future strategizing on public health responses, we need to understand how identity markers are impacting mortality rates within the population now. 

Our goal with creating this petition is to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial and territorial policy makers to mandate the collection of disaggregated data in relation to COVID19 infection and death rates. We want to urge our government to realize the gravity of not collecting health data for COVID19 patients. When dealing with a health care crisis, we need to study which communities are particularly impacted and in what way. The response to a public health crisis needs to take into consideration the increased risk of mortality for certain communities and their loved ones. It would be criminal to not document the disproportionate impact the novel virus will have on individual lives and their communities. We have to create conditions that allow people to survive with no one left behind.