COVID-19 in Ontario – A Focus on Diversity: Public Health Ontario Report

June 03, 2020

On June 1, Public Health Ontario released Enhanced Epidemiological Summary COVID-19 in Ontario – A Focus on Diversity .


This report aims to explore neighbourhood-level trends among laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario who do not reside in long term care (LTC) from a health equity perspective. It combines individual case data with neighbourhood-level data on race and immigration as measured by the “ethnic concentration” dimension of the Ontario Marginalization Index (ON-Marg).

The report findings improve our understanding of how COVID-19 impacts neighbourhoods differently in Ontario, particularly those with greater diversity that may already experience marginalization related to racism and discrimination. This information could be used to inform planning and equitable prioritization of public health and health system resources and interventions.


  • The most ethno-culturally diverse neighbourhoods in Ontario, primarily those concentrated in large urban areas, are experiencing disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 and related deaths compared to neighbourhoods that are the less diverse.
  • After adjusting for differences in the age structure between neighbourhoods, the rate of COVID-19 infections in the most diverse neighbourhoods was three times higher than the rate in the least diverse neighbourhoods.
  • People living in the most diverse neighbourhoods were also more likely to experience severe outcomes (hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths) than people living in the least diverse neighbourhoods:
    • hospitalization rates were four times higher;
    • ICU admission rates were four times higher; and
    • death rates were twice as high.

Read the full report here.