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OPHA Webinar Series – Housing and Health: Part 1  

OPHA Webinar Series – Housing and Health: Part 1  

What: Webinar
When: November 19, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM
Description and Objectives:
The Ontario Public Health Standards identify that “Health is influenced by a broad range of factors – genetics, individual lifestyles and behaviours and the physical, social and economic environments in which we live” and that “housing conditions” is an area where boards of health are to work with municipalities to address the impacts of the social determinants of health. A 2018 survey of Public Health Units (PHUs) identified that healthy and affordable housing was considered to be an important determining factor for a person’s health. The majority of PHUs reported that they would like to be more engaged in healthy and affordable housing and were interested in beginning or further developing their involvement. In an earlier survey (2015) three quarters of PHUs agreed that housing conditions adversely affect the health of marginalized populations in their community yet less than half had internal policies that address substandard housing for marginalized populations.  For these reasons, OPHA has designed a series of webinars to assist in building capacity and expertise for HU staff.
The objectives of the Housing and Health webinars are:
  • To share evidence, best practices and examples of successful initiatives related to safe, healthy, affordable and barrier-free housing
  • To share strategies, guidelines, frameworks and tools to guide public health action
  • To share knowledge and data on linkages between housing and health

OPHA Webinar Series – Housing and Health: Part 1
A number of recent surveys of public health units and relevant partners have identified that local action is being taken on multiple fronts and across multiple sectors to address housing needs of Ontarians, in particular, the needs and concerns of vulnerable populations relating to adequate, safe, healthy and affordable housing. Findings from these surveys have informed recommendations to ensure healthy housing for all, advanced collaborations across sectors, and identified opportunities for public health interventions with community partners to address a variety of housing needs – from environmental health concerns to affordability and beyond.

This is the first part of a two-part webinar. The second part will take place December 3 from 12-1pm.

The first webinar will highlight results of these multisectoral surveys and some findings that have spurred public health and multisectoral action to addressing housing needs across Ontario. 

  • BEWG Affordable Housing Task Group Survey. Led by the Affordable Housing and Public Health Task Group of the OPHA Built Environment Working Group, a survey was disseminated to all Ontario public health units (PHU) in fall of 2018 to better understand the capacity for local public health action in affordable housing and public health in Ontario. Findings from 27 responding units across Ontario identified reasons for addressing affordable housing, the current status of this work, challenges and capacity, and opportunities to build greater knowledge, capacity and expertise to further advance this work. This webinar will provide a brief summary of these survey findings along with recommendations of initiatives and collaborations moving forward. 
  • RentSafe Surveys and Recommendations: Led by the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE) and with participation from the OPHA Environmental Health Working Group, PHUs and other partners, RentSafe aims to build capacity across multiple sectors including health, legal aid, social services, tenant advocacy groups, landlords and municipalities, so that low-income tenants, when faced with housing-related health risks, are better able to get the support they need. This webinar will provide a brief summary of RentSafe’s tenant focus groups, and surveys of public health units, legal aid clinics, social service providers, landlords and municipal bylaw and enforcement agencies. Recommendations and actions that came out of this work will also be discussed, in particular, the strong interest and recognition across sectors that the system can be improved. Health equity was a key motivator for RentSafe, recognizing that low-income communities face compounding health determinants/risks and have limited capacity to change their living circumstances.

Upcoming events

OPHA Fall Forum 2019: Health & Climate Change
OPHA Webinar Series – Housing and Health: Part 1