Health Equity in National Cancer Control Plans: An Analysis of the Ontario Cancer Plan

Document Type : Original Article


1 School of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada


National cancer control plans (NCCPs) are important documents that guide strategic priorities in cancer care and plan for the appropriate allocation of resources based on the social, geographic and economic needs of a population. Despite the emphasis on health equity by the World Health Organization (WHO), few NCCPs have a focus on health equity. The Ontario Cancer Plan (OCP) IV, (2015 to 2019) is an example of an NCCP with clearly defined health equity goals and objectives.

This paper presents a directed-content analysis of the OCP IV health equity goals and objectives, in light of the synergies of oppression analytical framework.

The OCP IV confines equity to an issue of access-to-care. As a result, it calls for training, funding, and social support services to increase accessibility for high-risk population groups. However, equity has a broader definition. And as such, it also implies that systematic differences in health outcomes between social groups should be minimal. This is particularly significant given that socially disadvantaged cancer patients in Ontario have distinctly poorer cancer-related health outcomes.

Health systems are seeking ways to reduce the health equity gap. However, to reduce health inequities which are socially-based will require a recognition of the living and working conditions of patients which influence risk, mortality and survival. NCCPs represent a way to politically advocate for the determinants of health which profoundly influence cancer risk, outcomes and mortality.


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Volume 8, Issue 9
September 2019
Pages 550-556
  • Receive Date: 25 August 2018
  • Revise Date: 03 May 2019
  • Accept Date: 22 May 2019
  • First Publish Date: 01 September 2019