Developing a Health Equity Impact Assessment ‘Indigenous Lens Tool’ to address challenges in providing equitable cancer screening for indigenous peoples Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background In spite of past efforts to increase screening uptake, the rates of screening-detectable cancers including breast, cervical, colorectal and lung are rising among Indigenous persons in Ontario compared to other Ontarians. The Ontario Ministry of Health has an equity framework, the Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) Tool, that was developed to guide organizations in the provision of more equitable health and social services. Although the HEIA Tool identifies that the health of Indigenous persons may benefit from more equitable provision of health and social services, it provides very little specific guidance on how to apply the HEIA Tool in a culturally relevant way to policies and programs that may impact Indigenous peoples. Discussion Guided by the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, an Indigenous Lens Tool was developed through a collaborative and iterative process with stakeholders at Cancer Care Ontario and with representatives from Indigenous community-based organizations. The Indigenous Lens Tool consists of four scenarios, with supporting documentation that provide context for each step of the HEIA Tool and thereby facilitate application of the equity framework to programs and policies. The document is in no way meant to be comprehensive or representative of the diverse health care experiences of Indigenous peoples living in Canada nor the social determinants that surround health and well-being of Indigenous peoples living in Canada. Rather, this document provides a first step to support development of policies and programs that recognize and uphold the rights to health and well-being of Indigenous peoples living in Canada. Conclusions The Indigenous Lens Tool was created to facilitate implementation of an existing health equity framework within Cancer Care Ontario (now Ontario Health). Even though the Indigenous Lens Tool was created for this purpose, the principles contained within it are translatable to other health and social service policy applications.


  • Jumah, Naana Afua
  • Kewayosh, Alethea
  • Downey, Bernice
  • Campbell Senese, Laura
  • Tinmouth, Jill

publication date

  • November 15, 2023