Disparities in health between Canadian and immigrant seniors in the GTA – study


A new study by the Wellesley Institute of Toronto reports “significant” disparities in self-reported health and mental health between Canadian and immigrant seniors in the Greater Toronto Area  (GTA) , especially those who are “racialized” and from non-English background.

According to the study, released on Tuesday,” immigrant seniors, especially those who arrived more recently, reported poorer health status, in both overall health and mental health, than non-immigrant seniors,”

 It noted that “while only 19 per cent of non-immigrant seniors reported fair/poor health, 34 per cent of recent and mid-term immigrants and 26 per cent of long-term immigrants rated their health as fair/poor. Similar patterns were found in self-reported mental health.”

According to census data released in May, there were 5.9 million people aged 65 and older in Canada, just above the 5.8 million children under 14 — showing the country’s elderly population surpassing its youth population for the first time.

In the GTA, nearly two in three seniors were immigrants. Among all immigrant seniors, 43 per cent were “visible minorities” and 69 per cent reported a mother tongue that was English.

Researchers Seong-gee Um and  Naomi Lightman are co-authors  of the study.