Socio-demographic data is an important tool for measuring and reducing health disparities
among people across different population groups and from different backgrounds.
Evidence from Canadian literature clearly demonstrates that health outcomes differ based on social and demographic factors such as sexual orientation, gender identity, language, race, immigration status, and ethnicity, as well as access to affordable housing, adequate income, social inclusion and other factors. While limited, current research findings shed light on some of the existing inequities in Canadian long-term care settings, highlighting the importance of
collecting and analyzing socio-demographic data, as well as the need for better data collection on diverse population groups living in long-term care settings. This report makes clear that without taking steps to enhance the collection of socio-demographic data in long-term care settings, the needs of Canadians living in long-term care settings will continue to be misunderstood and preventable inequities in care and outcomes will persist.
Canada continues to lag behind other countries (e.g., United Kingdom, Australia, United States) in collecting population-based socio-demographic data—such as ethnicity, race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. There are, however, several sources of data which provide insight into Canada’s older adult population, as well as the portion of the Canadian population currently residing in long-term care settings. These include: Canadian Institute for Health Information’s CIHI) Continuing Care Reporting System (CCRS) and Statistics Canada’s Census of the Population, Canadian Community Health Survey, and Nursing and Residential Care Facility Survey. However, CIHI acknowledges that the CCRS, along with other CIHI and Statistics Canada health data repositories, fail to capture the information that can be effectively used to identify health inequities among people living and working in Canadian long-term care homes. By addressing this lack of socio-demographic data, we will begin to build a better understanding of the diverse populations living in long-term care settings, which will enable us to develop more targeted interventions to effectively address any existing health disparities. This report highlights that reliably collecting in-depth socio-demographic data across Canada would enable better policy and planning processes to address known gaps in care options for Canadians of all backgrounds.