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Difficulties accessing health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada: examining the intersectionality between immigrant status and visible minority status

December 13, 2021

By DOC Wire News |

Difficulties accessing health care services can result in delaying in seeking and obtaining treatment. Although these difficulties are disproportionately experienced among vulnerable groups, we know very little about how the intersectionality of realities experienced by immigrants and visible minorities can impact their access to health care services since the pandemic.

METHODS: Using Statistics Canada’s Crowdsourcing Data: Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians-Experiences of Discrimination, we combine two variables (i.e., immigrant status and visible minority status) to create a new variable called visible minority immigrant status. This multiplicative approach is commonly used in intersectionality research, which allows us to explore disadvantages experienced by minorities with multiplicative identities.

RESULTS: Main results show that, compared to white native-born, visible minority immigrants are less likely to report difficulties accessing non-emergency surgical care (OR = 0.55, p < 0.001), non-emergency diagnostic test (OR = 0.74, p < 0.01), dental care (OR = 0.71, p < 0.001), mental health care (OR = 0.77, p < 0.05), and making an appointment for rehabilitative care (OR = 0.56, p < 0.001) but more likely to report difficulties accessing emergency services/urgent care (OR = 1.46, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: We conclude that there is a dynamic interplay of factors operating at multiple levels to shape the impact of COVID-19 related needs to be addressed through changes in social policies, which can tackle unique struggles faced by visible minority immigrants.

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