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Equity and EPH handbook


The Through an Equity Lens project aims to increase knowledge about health equity in the context of environmental public health (EPH) practice and to develop resources that support the use of an equity lens in practice. This Handbook includes information and evidence about incorporating equity into EPH practice, to be updated as new information becomes available. 

Download the full Handbook in PDF format

We have produced a three-part Primer on Equity and Environmental Public Health (EPH) practice, written for practitioners, managers, and program directors.


  1. Five Things to Know About Equity in EPH highlights the ways that equity intersects with EPH practice and illustrates how an equity lens might be used.
  2. Areas of EPH Practice Impacted by the Social Determinants of Health illustrates how equity issues impact different areas of EPH practice.
  3. Equity in EPH Practice discusses ways to integrate an equity lens into practice.

This summary provides an overview of conceptual frameworks and tools for applying them to environmental public health practice. It is designed to assist managers and directors to incorporate a health equity lens into organizational programming.


This report, based on interviews with practitioners in BC and across Canada, highlights ways that equity has been integrated with environmental public health practice in different places. It includes a series of vignettes to illustrate how equity can be integrated with practice, and provides an overview of both individual and systemic facilitators and barriers to equity-integrated practice.

This short document outlines five ways to begin integrating an equity lens into environmental health practice.


‎This report, based on a pan-Canadian environmental scan and interviews with practitioners and policymakers in BC and across Canada, provides a detailed overview of environmental public health legislation and downstream policy instruments that implicitly or explicitly refer to health equity. It offers an analysis of how policy instruments can or have been used to support the integration of health equity into environmental public health practice. The report identifies some policy-related barriers and facilitators, as well as opportunities and recommendations, for integrating an equity lens within an environmental public health context.

This short summary highlights how two types of policy levers (governing instruments and policy drivers) affect the implementation of an equity lens, and highlights five key ways that policy can support leaders and decision makers to take further action.



Health is influenced by the way that communities are planned and built, as well as by the services and resources available within them. Health equity requires that all community members – including low income residents, children, seniors, newcomers, Indigenous people, and people with physical and mental health issues – have access to those features of the built environment that support health and wellness.

This evidence review examines how health equity is influenced by the built environment, and how built environment interventions can support or undermine health equity. The evidence is organized according to the five physical features of the built environment as outlined in the Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit. The evidence shows that low socioeconomic status is associated with increased environmental health risks from air pollution, excessive heat, lack of access to green space, as well as a lack of access to safe transportation options and other public amenities. However, features of the built environment that increase access to green space, public services and amenities, and support social cohesion can positively influence health independent of socioeconomic status.
This Fact Sheet offers evidence-informed principals to support health equity through interventions in the built environment. It is designed to be a companion to the Healthy Built Environment Linkages Toolkit and provides concrete actions that local governments can take to support health equity through the built environment. It may be used by health professionals who work with local governments, or by planners and local government officials looking for ways to build healthier, more equitable communities.
This curated reading list, prepared in collaboration with NCCEH and NCCDH, contains resources specific to environmental public health practitioners with respect to their roles in addressing the social determinants of health (SDH) and health equity through consultation, enforcement, and education. The resources are organized into three main themes: 
  1. The intersection of SDH and health equity with environmental public health practice 
  2. Facilitators and barriers to integrating SDH and health equity into individual and organizational practices to support a shift in practice focus 
  3. Taking action on SDH and health equity, including stories from the field and tools to provide practical considerations for how public health inspectors can address SDH and health equity 
Use this list to facilitate discussions with colleagues about the role of environmental public health practitioners in addressing health equity, work with leadership to integrate work on the SDH into the scope of environmental public health, or to learn from other environmental health practitioners about how they address the SDH in their practice.

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) has collected stories from environmental public health practitioners who are pioneering the use of an equity lens in different ways. Read their stories on their blog at:

If you have an example to share, please email us at


SOURCE: Equity and EPH handbook ( )
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