Item - 2020.HL17.9

Tracking Status

  • This item was considered by Board of Health on June 8, 2020 and was adopted without amendment.

HL17.9 - Addressing Anti-Black Racism as a Public Health Crisis in the City of Toronto

Decision Type:

Board Decision

The Board of Health:


1.  Recognized anti-Black racism as a public health crisis.


2.  Affirmed its commitment to continuing to address the social determinants of health by supporting policies and programs that address the inequities that marginalized groups continue to face, with a focus on Black communities and residents, including in the following areas: employment, education, housing, child care, policing and law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and access to health and mental health services.


3.  Requested the Medical Officer of Health, through the 2021 Budget process and COVID-19 recovery planning, to make recommendations to the Board of Health on reprioritizing the City of Toronto's resources to address the social determinants of health, including specifically a focus on anti-Black racism.


4.  Requested the Medical Officer of Health, in accordance with public health advice on physical distancing requirements and the Provincial Order that limits public gatherings, to reschedule a three-hour training session for the Board on Anti-Black Racism, Understanding Equity from Africentric Values and Principles, and Embedding Equity and Anti-Black Racism in Governance and Leadership from the TAIBU Community Health Centre and its partners, that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to build the Board's capacity to provide equitable space for racialized and marginalized representation.


5.  Requested the Chair to write to the Chair, Civic Appointments Committee, City of Toronto, to convey the Board's desire that its membership reflect the full diversity and range of voices in our city, with particular attention to voices from Black communities, during the next recruitment of Board of Health members and in the event of any vacancies.


(June 8, 2020) Letter from Councillor Joe Cressy


Toronto is the most diverse city in the world. At the same time, anti-Black racism is a historic, pervasive, and systemic issue in our city.


Racism has numerous consequences: Black Toronto residents are more than twice as likely to be living in low-income households than residents who are not a visible minority, and 44 percent of Black children live in poverty, compared to 15 percent of non-racialized children. Black women in Ontario earn 57 cents for every dollar that a non-racialized man earns. Black people in our city experience racial profiling and anti-Black discrimination within our institutions, along with higher rates of precarious employment and unemployment, significant poverty, and overrepresentation in the criminal justice, mental health, and child welfare systems.


The intersection of race, income, housing, and other social determinants of health have placed Black Torontonians at great risk, as we are seeing through the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities with higher percentages of visible minorities. This is tragic, it is unacceptable, and it needs to change.


In order to adequately address anti-Black racism in our city, we must approach it from a public health perspective.

Background Information

(June 8, 2020) Letter from Councillor Joe Cressy on Addressing Anti-Black Racism as a Public Health Crisis in the City of Toronto


(June 8, 2020) Letter from Liben Gebremikael, TAIBU Community Health Centre (HL.New.HL17.9.1)


1 - Motion to Add New Business at Committee moved by Councillor Joe Cressy (Carried)

2 - Motion to Adopt Item moved by Councillor Joe Cressy (Carried)

Vote (Adopt Item) Jun-08-2020

Result: Carried Majority Required
Total members that voted Yes: 10 Members that voted Yes are Joe Cressy (Chair), Stephanie Donaldson, Cynthia Lai, Mike Layton, Ida Li Preti, Jennifer McKelvie, Kate Mulligan, Gord Perks, Peter Wong, Soo Wong
Total members that voted No: 0 Members that voted No are
Total members that were Absent: 3 Members that were absent are Ashna Bowry, Angela Jonsson, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Source: Toronto City Clerk at