Globalization And The Health Of Canadians: A Transdisciplinary Research Network

Reflecting Canada’s leadership in understanding that population health is affected by much more than health care, this five year pan-Canadian interdisciplinary research network focuses on policy responses to globalization’s effects on social determinants of health.
We built on the expertise of investigators across Canada from a variety of backgrounds to address the following research questions:

How does globalization affect health, health disparities and the determinants of health in Canada, with special reference to children in low-income households in major metropolitan areas (Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver, with Saskatoon as a small-city comparison case), and to the cross-cutting themes of gender and immigration?
How does globalization affect the international context in which Canada must address health equity and determinants of health?
How effectively has Canadian public policy responded to the challenges for health outcomes and determinants of health presented by globalization?
What demonstrably effective best practices to avoid or mitigate the potentially negative health effects of globalization can be identified from the experience of other countries?
What are the key policy entry points for addressing the impact of globalization on health disparities in the future?  What opportunities will be available to Canadian governments for using those policy entry points?
What key data and research needs must be addressed for purposes of future Canadian research and policy in this area?

Our work program supported trainees at several sites who gained valuable experience in qualitative and quantitative research; in using research for policy analysis; and in knowledge translation.

Who are we?

Ronald Labonté
Professor and Canada  Distinguished Research Chair Globalization and Health Equity
School of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine.
University of Ottawa

Toba Bryant
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Research areas of specialty: social determinants of health, income, housing, welfare state analysis, health and social policy change, women’s health

Margaret Condon
Consultant, formerly of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC.

Jennifer Cushon
Program Manager of Research and Evaluation in the Public Health Observatory, Saskatoon.

Kristin Good
Professor, Department of Political Science, Dalhousie University.
Prof. Good’s primary research interests are city politics and governance, ethnic relations, immigration policy as well as Canada’s model of ethno-cultural and linguistic pluralism.

Jody Heymann
Dean UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Heymann also serves as Founding Director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. An unprecedented effort to improve the level and quality of comparative policy data available to policymakers, researchers and the public, WORLD examines health and social policies and outcomes in all 193 UN countries.

Elizabeth Kristjansson
Professor, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa.
She is a health measurement expert whose place-based research focuses on the socio-economic determinants of health. Her primary research interest is in systematic reviews on nutrition and food security interventions.

Judith McKenzie
Former professor, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph.

Nazeem Muhajarine
Professor and Chair, Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan College of Medecine; Director, Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit; Founding member, Community-University Institute for Social Research
Dr. Muhajarine is a social epidemiologist, academic and mentor with a particular passion for community development and family and neighbourhood contextual influences in child development and health. His research expertise and interest include population health intervention research, physical activity in children, place and health, and application of epidemiological methods.

Karen Murray
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, York University.
Her research interests include governance , politics and government , urban governance, anti-racist and feminist politics, poverty and inequalities

Michael Orsini
Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa; Director of the Institute of Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa; Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
His main areas of research interest are in health politics and policy, and the role of social movements in policy processes. His substantive areas of interest include autism, HIV/AIDS and illnesses that affect marginalized people.

Dennis Raphael
Professor, School of Health Policy and Management and Graduate Program Director, Health Policy and Equity, York University
His most recent publications have focused on the health effects of income inequality and poverty, the quality of life of communities and individuals, and the impact of government decisions on Canadians’ health and well-being.

Damaris Rose
Professor, Urbanisation, Culture and Society Research Centre, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Montréal.

Nancy Ross
Professor, Department of Geography, and Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University.
Nancy Ross studies the geo-social determinants of health with an emphasis on how physical and social urban environments shape human health across the lifespan.

Michael Sawada
Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics; Director of the Laboratory for Applied Geomatics and GIS, University of Ottawa.

Ted Schrecker
Professor of Global Health Policy in the Centre for Public Policy & Health, Durham University
Ted’s academic background is in political science, and he has taught that discipline as well as environmental studies and population health (at the doctoral level) from an interdisciplinary perspective. For the past decade his research has addressed the consequences of transnational economic integration (globalization) for health and health equity; he also has a long-standing interest in issues at the interface of science, ethics, law and public policy.

Andrew Sharpe
Executive Director, Centre for Study of Living Standards, Ottawa; Adjunct Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa.

Denise Spitzer
Canada Research Chair in Gender, Migration and Health; Professor, Feminist and Gender Studies, University of Ottawa.
Trained as a medical anthropologist, Dr. Spitzer is interested in the impact of marginalization on health and wellbeing and in the myriad of ways in which people and communities resist its effects.

Richard Stren
Professor emeritus, Department of Political Science, and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto; Senior Fellow at the Global Cities Institute
His major area of interest is comparative urban policy with a special interest in developing countries.

Armine Yalnizyan
Senior economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Ottawa.
She is also Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics and serves on the boards of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s Institute of Population and Public Health and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Publications and Presentations


Labonté R, Cobbett E, Orsini M, Spitzer D, Schrecker T and Ruckert A. Globalization and the Health of Canadians: ‘Having a Job is the Most Important Thing‘ Globalization and Health, 2015


Caldbick, S., Labonté, R., Mohindra, K.S., and Ruckert, A. Globalization and the rise of precarious employment: the new frontier for workplace health promotionGlobal Health Promotion 2014

Ruckert, A., and Labonté, R. The global financial crisis and health equity: early experiences from CanadaGlobalization and Health, 2014


Bryant, T., Raphael, D., Schrecker, T. and Labonté, R. “Canada: A Land of Missed Opportunity for Addressing the Social Determinants of Health.” Health Policy, 2011

Cushon, J., Muhajarine, N. and Labonté, R. “Lived experience of economic and political trends related to neoliberal globalization.” Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2010

Forgotten Families: Globalization and the Health of Canadians Inaugural Conference, 2007

Labonté, R., (ed.) Forgotten Families: Globalization and the Health of Canadians, Ottawa: Collection d’études transdisciplinaires en santé des populations/Transdisciplinary Studies in Population Health Series, 2010

Labonté, R., Sanders, D., Baum, F. et al Aplicación, efectividad y context político de la atención primaria integral de salud: resultados preliminares de una revisión de la literatura mundial, Rev. Gerenc. Polit. Salud, 2009

Macdonald, J., Raphael, D., Labonté, R., Colman, R., Torgerson, R. and Hayward, K. Income and health in Canada: Canadian researchers’ conceptualizations make policy change unlikelyInternational Journal of Health Services 2009

Raphael, D., Labonté, R., Colman, R., Hayward, K. Torgerson, R., Macdonald, J. Income and Health in Canada: Research gaps and future opportunities, Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2006

Raphael, D., Macdonald, J., Labonté, R., Torgerson, R., Colman, R. and Hayward, K., Researching Income and Income Distribution as a Determinant of Health in Canada: Gaps Between Theoretical Knowledge, Research Practice, and Policy Implementation, 2005

Schrecker, T. and Labonté, R. Globalization and Urban Health. In J Boufford and D. Vlahov (eds.), Urban Health: Global Perspectives,  2010