The first federal budget under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Addressing social determinants of health?

Arne Ruckert, Ronald Labonté


A challenging budget environment during the Harper years has meant that crucial investments in the social determinants of health (SDHs) have increasingly been neglected. The tabling of what is widely considered a more progressive budget with expansionary fiscal elements under the new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, raises the question as to what extent this budget invests in policy areas that are crucial for achieving a more equitable distribution in the social determinants of health, as promised in the Liberal party platform. In this commentary, we argue that the first Liberal budget represents a step in the right direction, but that this first step needs to be followed up with a sustained commitment to address the pervasive (and unfair) social inequalities that are the root cause of persistent health inequities in Canada. We conclude that the first Trudeau budget, while moving in the right direction, does not fully embody the sustained policy changes needed to effectively address SDHs, including a more expansive role for the federal government in the redistribution of income and wealth.


Public health; budgets; social determinants of health

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