TORONTO, ONTARIO ~~~ June 15, 2020 (LSN) In response to requests by community leaders and public health experts, the Ontario government is proposing a regulatory change to mandate the reporting of data on race, income, language and household size for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. This will help ensure the province has a more complete picture of the outbreak. This change will allow for the collection of data in a consistent way across the province, while ensuring the privacy of Ontarians is protected.
"As the COVID-19 outbreak has evolved locally, Ontario's public health system has demonstrated remarkable responsiveness," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "As has been requested by community leaders, we are taking action to support and expand the work needed to help protect our communities all across the province."
Under these proposed changes, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 infection will be asked additional questions about their race, income, languages spoken, and household size. Individuals can choose not to answer any or all of these questions. Individuals' privacy is protected as it is for all information currently collected on other diseases.
"We recognize that some Ontarians may be at greater risk of COVID-19 infection. This includes racialized Ontarians and individuals with lower incomes," said Elliott. "Collecting these data will help guide decisions as work continues to stop the spread of the virus and protect some of our most vulnerable people."
Collecting data province-wide, and in a standardized way, will ensure a more complete picture of the outbreak is captured. The province will continue to work with local public health units and other health care partners to implement effective policies to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
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