Experts call for a collection of racial and Indigenous identity in health care

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A group of experts says all provinces and territories should collect data on racial and Indigenous identity to help address inequities in care, and the best way to do that is when someone applies for a health card or renews it.

Doctor Andrew Pinto, lead author of a commentary published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says Black and Indigenous patients have less access to care.

He says allowing them to voluntarily provide identity data could help track racism in the health-care system.

Pinto, who is founder of the non-profit Upstream Lab at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, says that the data would also help monitor any progress in addressing stereotypes that lead to worse outcomes for some people.

Many racialized communities have called for race-based data so they can get needed health-care resources.

Nova Scotia and Manitoba collect that data but only the Atlantic province has residents providing it through health cards.

Manitoba says asking people for that information at hospitals is the most efficient approach.