A new Public Health Racial Equity Action Framework is being put in place by the board for Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

Board chair, Rene Lapierre says the framework is the first of its kind for the agency and under the law, everyone has the right to exist free from racial discrimination and harassment.

He adds the Ontario Human Rights Code provides those protections in social aspects of life including accessing public services, health services, and social assistance.

Lapierre says the new policy will be put in place in the near future.

“Health is about much more than access to medical care. Everyone has different opportunities for health and these are largely influenced by avoidable injustices, including societal responses to race, culture, and ethnicity,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer, PHSD. “As an agency with a vision of healthier communities for all, (PHSD) is proud to highlight our commitment to racial equality and we encourage other organizations to consider how they too can improve this important opportunity for health.”

Systemic racism takes place when an institution or set of institutions create or maintain racial inequity in their policies and practices. This can be unintentional and does not mean that people within an organization are racist. It is often caused by hidden biases that privilege or disadvantage people based on race.