Social Determinants of Health

Good health care and healthy living is important. But there is so much more that impacts our level of health and well-being each and every day. The biggest factors that control our health are not our health care systems or even the choices we make.  

They are the social determinants of health. 

The social determinants of health are the living conditions that surround us. They are life factors that often affect a large group of people and they need a wide community approach to recognize, address and solve.

They can also help us to identify the areas of the health system that may need to be improved.

Some social determinants of health that affect Canadians include:

  • Level of income;
  • Job and working conditions;
  • Level of education;
  • Access to early childhood education;
  • Access to housing and food;
  • The level of family and community support we have; 
  • Ethnicity, gender and Aboriginal status; and
  • Disability.

Social determinants are important to the WWLHIN because those in our community that are affected by them, often experience challenges accessing the care and support they need. 

Collaboration and partnerships are vital to solve these issues. That’s why we at the Waterloo Wellington LHIN are working with our health service providers, community leaders and community partners to build a health care system and community that works well for all residents and acknowledges the social challenges that impact our health as a whole.

For more information see the reports and videos below or contact us at:



How working together is making a difference:

  • Health Links - wrap supports around residents with multiple and complex health needs. The care team needs what is most important to the person. The primary care provider and others in the care team work together to help the person achieve their goals and support them in the community.  
  • Specialized Crisis Teams - addictions and mental health experts join police officers responding to emergency calls to provide support and referrals on the spot. This keeps people safe, out of the hospital and on the right side of the law.
  • Connectivity Tables - bring together representatives from health and community support agencies as a team to create care strategies for people with complex health needs.  Cases are brought to Connectivity Tables meetings and health and social supports are quickly put in place. Bringing services to the patient means that people no longer have to try to navigate the health system to get help from each service separately.
  • Here 24/7 - is the one point of access for 12 mental health and addictions services across the Waterloo Wellington LHIN. Anyone in the community can call for help and an intake coordinator trained in crisis intervention and mental health and addictions assessments will match callers to the appropriate, available services or connect them with supports in the community.