Aboriginal Health Counts Toronto: Housing and Mobility Factsheet

Project Summary

The Our Health Counts, Toronto research project will contribute to the priority area of Applying the “Two-Eyed Seeing“ Model in Aboriginal Health, specifically utilizing “Two-Eyed Seeing” in assessing and improving the health of urban Aboriginal people. The study design provides an opportunity to address the broad gaps in urban Aboriginal health assessment across health domains and lifecycle stages with a focus on a key health care utilization indicator (ER use). Our Aboriginal community partners (Seven Generation Midwives Toronto) and collaborators have made it clear that a comprehensive health assessment that balances wellness and illness measures and looks across the lifecycle and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health domains is desired, and at the same time the study recognizes the scientific merit and policy relevance of our proposed longitudinal tracking and analytic study of the key drivers of emergency room admissions. This broad approach to the health research is necessary in order to ensure our research meets the dual criteria of Aboriginal community relevance and scientific excellence, and in doing so embodies and puts into action the “Two-Eyed Seeing“ model in Aboriginal health.

This project is being led by Dr. Janet Smylie, Director of Well Living House, St. Michael’s Hospital and Sara Wolfe, Community Knowledge User at Seven Generation Midwives Toronto. The Our Health Counts Toronto research project is a 4 year long study that officially began January 2014 and will concluded March 2018 and is funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).

Summary: The Housing & Mobility chapter

Housing is a key determinant of health and wellbeing. Unstable housing has been associated with poorer overall health, unmet health care needs, and higher emergency department use. High levels of mobility often coincide with unstable, crowded housing and can impact participation in the labour force and education system. Indigenous people living in urban areas experience higher levels of mobility and precarious housing conditions than non-Indigenous people. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission highlights the connection between loss of traditional territories, unemployment, and attendance at residential schools to the high levels of unstable housing among Indigenous people in Canada.

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