Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has released her latest report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2019, Addressing Stigma: Towards a More Inclusive Health System. This report explores the current state of health of Canadians and focuses on understanding the impact of stigma on our health, as well as how we can reduce it across health systems. During the development of this report, Dr. Tam met with people across Canada who have expertise in, and who experience stigma in the health system.

Persistent health inequities prevent many people from being able to achieve optimal health. Too often, these health inequities can be explained by how people are treated. For example, racism, homophobia, and transphobia, can lead to poor health outcomes for people who experience them.

The presence and persistence of stigma in our health system creates barriers for those who are most in need, from accessing services to getting effective care. We all need to take steps to end the “us” vs. “them” discourse. To do so, we need to reflect on our own biases, challenge them and take steps to change our understanding and treatment of others. This report is intended to raise awareness, stimulate discussion and catalyze action to move towards a more inclusive health system that will help everyone in Canada achieve their optimal health.

To read the report, visit

For those wanting a deeper dive into the report’s findings, the following additional products are available:

What We Heard Report: Learn what we heard from people across Canada.
Action Framework Poster: Use and share this poster to guide your actions to address stigma.

In January 2020, these products will also be released:

Evidence Summary: Learn more about the evidence on effective interventions to address stigma.
Reference List: Examples of stigmas related to social identities and health conditions.
Videos: Health of Canadians 2019 and Voices for Inclusion.