Islands of isolation in a modern metropolis: Social structures and the geography of social exclusion in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Zsofia Mendly-Zambo School of Health Policy and Management, York University
  • Luke Power School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh
  • Amina Khan School of Health Policy and Management, York University
  • Toba Bryant School of Health Policy and Management, York University
  • Dennis Raphael School of Health Policy and Management, York University
Keywords: Social exclusion, Racialization, Discrimination, Toronto, Canada, Neoliberal cities, Health inequalities, Social deprivation

Abstract

In response to a request from a local community health centre, an inquiry was undertaken into the service needs and day-to-day lives of residents in five social housing complexes in the inner suburbs of Etobicoke, Toronto. Unlike other low-income communities embedded within larger wealthier communities, these complexes have little in the way of health care, social service, or recreational facilities. Focus groups revealed that anticipated issues of difficulty in accessing primary health care services, limited access to support services, and lack of recreational opportunities for youth were intensified by gentrification of neighbourhoods, ongoing experiences of racism and discrimination, a dearth of occupational opportunities for youth and political invisibility of these residents. These experiences of social exclusion are especially troubling when contrasted with the opportunities for health and well-being offered to many others in one of Canada’s wealthiest urban communities.

Published
2022-01-13