Zahra Husain

Exploring the intersecting factors that impact the physical and mental health of racialized immigrants, including unemployment, lack of social networks and language barriers.

Visualizing the Problem

Canada is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, relying on immigration to strengthen and enrich its economy and society. Immigrants generally arrive in Canada with a better physical and mental health status than their native-born counterparts, a phenomenon known as the ‘healthy immigrant effect’. However, over time, their health advantage tends to deteriorate and decline compared to Canadian-born individuals due to several factors, including unemployment, lack of social networks, and language barriers. These factors not only adversely impact their mental and physical health but also pose significant challenges when accessing and utilizing services to address their health concerns. If left untreated, their health status further worsens over time. It’s clear that the substantial barriers immigrant and racialized groups face in accessing healthcare in Canada do not align with the Canada Health Act, which states that all Canadians, regardless of immigrant status, should have equal access to healthcare. Supporting the health and well-being of immigrants and racialized communities and ensuring they have access to equitable, quality healthcare to help them live meaningful and fulfilling lives, will be a driving force in Canada’s economic, social, and cultural vibrancy.