Our Commitment to Equity

The pursuit of equity is the beacon that guides us each day at Women’s College Hospital (WCH).  

When founded over a 100 years ago, our purpose was to provide access to care for women. Over time we have come to understand our obligations more broadly, including addressing gender inequity across the gender spectrum and the entrenched disparities for racialized people.  

While we have worked hard to create a supportive environment of inclusion, the truth is we have a long way to go in dismantling the structures that contribute to inequity, including anti-Black racism. 

In 2020, WCH leadership communicated our commitment to dismantle the structural anti-Black racism and oppression faced by WCH patients, staff, physicians and community.  

Women’s College Hospital is on a critical path to dismantle racism and oppression and, in particular, to address the distinct needs of Black communities. We are proud of the work we have accomplished and know that there is much more work to complete.  

At WCH, we pride ourselves on being an organization committed to equity and to serving and removing barriers for the communities we serve.  

Contact WCH’s Office of Equity

Our Vision for Equity

Our strategic vision for equity at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) is premised on our fundamental belief that healthcare is a human right.

It is that belief that sustains our commitment to being an organization that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve and to offering the best healthcare options for all.

To that end, the office of Anti-racism, Equity and Social Accountability designs and leads activities and initiatives to integrate anti-racism, equity and social accountability principles and best practice across all aspects of patient care and lines of business at WCH.

The Office provides subject matter expertise on issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and engagement in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision and values of Equity, Quality, People, Courage, and Collaboration.

Learn more

The Office of Equity is mandated to lead organization-wide equity efforts; and mainstream equity, diversity and inclusion best-practice into the structures, systems, policy frameworks, programs, customs and day-to-day practices at Women’s College Hospital; in alignment with the hospital’s Strategic Priorities.

The Office:

    • Draws from research, scholarship and evidence-based best-practice, to provide intellectual leadership in advancing inclusive excellence across all spheres of activity at the hospital

    • Advances, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, Women’s College Hospital’ health equity and well-being agenda to nurture a culture that promotes improved, equitable health outcomes for patients, families and Women’s College Hospital staff

    • Reviews and develops institutional policy frameworks to harness synergies and support inclusive excellence

    • Champions and leads institutional and patient data collection and analysis to identify EDI gaps, implement strategies for enhanced inclusion, inform health equity and improve health outcomes for all relevant Women’s College Hospital stakeholders

    • Implements a robust communications strategy, including developing online web content and learning and reference resource

    • Develops a comprehensive curriculum across various learning platforms to advance capacity around issues of equity

    • Develops a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure and track progress on KPIs to improve immediate and longer-term outcomes

The work of the office to fulfil its mandate is informed by definitions of:

    • Equity as the ideological and resource commitment to the removal of systemic barriers, to produce Equal access to opportunities and outcomes:
        • Observed in Policy and Practice.

    • Diversity as the existence and intersection of difference in demographics, worldviews, knowledges, and experiences:
        • Observed as the recruitment and retention of diverse persons, talents and perspectives.

    • Inclusion as the creation of feelings of connectedness and engagement:                            
        • Observed in environments where all feel respected, uniquely valued and empowered to be their authentic and best selves.

Building on its foundation of equity, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) continues to take meaningful steps to further its work in fostering a culture of equity for our staff, clients, families, volunteers, learners, community partners and all stakeholders.

Through identifying and addressing health gaps and continuing this ongoing work, WCH remains committed to creating a culturally safe environment at all levels of the organization.

This work is guided by the CLEAR strategy

The CLEAR strategy is focused on our:

  1. Culture and belonging and the creation of inclusive, culturally welcoming, barrier-free environments
  2. Learning, Engagement and Accountability frameworks through which to build a strong foundation for action, advocacy and influence across the organization and across the healthcare system; and
  3. Research, Collaboration, and Innovation where we will intentionally produce, document and disseminate community-informed, evidence-based, responsive programs, services and research that advances health equity and health justice.
1. Culture and Belonging1. Access: Patient (and Family) experience and outcomes
2. Accessibility
3. Collaboration
4. Employee Relations: Recruitment, Retention, Engagement and Promotion
5. Employee Relations: Mentorship, Professional Development, Career advancement
2. LearningCapacity building: Sensitization, Awareness, Training and Succession Planning
3. Engagement and OutreachCommunications (BRAVE: Bold, Reading Level, Advances the conversation, Verified, Engaging)
Community partnerships and collaboration
4. AccountabilityCorporate Operations: Policy and Accountability Frameworks
5. Research, Collaboration and InnovationOrganizational Research:
To support inclusive excellence across the hospital and TAHSN
Patient Data to inform equitable experiences and outcomes
Clinical research designed to support health equity

Women’s College Hospital (WCH) embraces the bold concept of healthcare as a human right and recognizes that advancing health equity and addressing the underlying social determinants of health requires action both inside and outside of the health sector. We strive for equity of access, quality and care outcomes.

Our Accessibility Plan applies an overall vision and reflects an ambitious four-year health equity strategy, building on our significant strengths and addressing new opportunities for growth and impact on healthcare as a human right. The process of developing this plan required an extensive look at the roles that Women’s College Hospital can play in advancing health equity – through the policies, programs and practices of our organization, the greater health system and through ongoing collaboration with our health and community sector partners.

Access and Disabilities Issues

Women’s College Hospital, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), is committed to providing inclusive and responsive goods, services and employment supports in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of all persons with disabilities. We are committed to creating the conditions for a healthy, respectful and positive patient-care and work environment.

To ensure that our services are accessible to everyone, we will enable access to assistive devices, use of service animals and support persons.

Women’s College Hospital’s Accessibility Plan for 2017 – 2020 (.pdf) was developed to demonstrate our commitment to building an inclusive and barrier-free environment for our patients, families, staff, volunteers and partners.

The Women’s Accessibility and EquiTy Committee for AODA Hospital compliance (WATCH) is designed to support WCH in complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and is the main instrument to accessibility at the hospital.

To that end, WATCH will advise, recommend and assist the WCH community in promoting and facilitating a barrier-free hospital for staff, clients, families, volunteers, learners, community partners and all stakeholders of all abilities (universal accessibility), including persons with disabilities.


Devices used to assist persons with disabilities in carrying out activities or in accessing the services of persons or organizations covered by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Assistive devices include, but are not limited to, wheelchairs, hearing devices and devices for grasping.

An animal, used by a person with a disability, that is individually trained to assist people with disabilities in their daily activities, to enhance their quality of life and mitigate their disabilities. We welcome persons with a disability who are partnered with a service animal and acknowledge the unique relationship which exists in this partnership.

An individual hired or chosen by a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or with access to goods or services.

Women’s College Hospital provides free language interpretation services for patients and their families when our health-care providers, staff, and/or volunteers do not share a common language or culture with the patient, or when the patient is deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. We also provide sign language interpreters for patients who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

Our clinical and professional staff work to ensure that the information shared with the patient is fully understood and understandable by both parties

Please let us know when booking your appointment if a language interpreter, deaf interpreter or an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter is needed. Staff will make arrangements at no cost to you.

Women’s College Hospital (WCH) is on a critical path to dismantle racism and oppression and, in particular, to address the distinct needs of Black communities. In 2020, WCH leadership communicated our commitment to dismantle the structural anti-Black racism and oppression faced by WCH staff, physicians and patients – within our hospital and beyond.

At WCH, we pride ourselves on being an organization committed to equity and to removing barriers for the communities we serve. To live up to this commitment, we reflected and acknowledged that we need to do better. We knew we needed to act and signal our commitment immediately. In Spring 2020, seven initial corporate commitments were communicated to ensure that leaders in the organization and members of the WCH community were clear on our commitment. We also sought external expertise and prioritized the engagement of an embedded expert. Following this work, in 2021, we further evolved our anti-Black racism corporate commitments.

Our corporate commitments represent our continued focus to dismantle anti-Black racism throughout the organization. The goals of our Anti-Black Racism (ABR) Corporate Commitments include:

  • Improved experience for Black staff, physicians and volunteers
  • Increased opportunity for engagement in decision making
  • Evolved partnerships with Black communities and the organizations that serve them
  • Measuring and working to increase diversity and representation across the organization
  • Measuring What Matters

We are sharing an update on our progress and the work we will continue to do together. The journey to dismantle the structures that perpetuate inequities requires all of us to look inward and critically examine the role we play.

The corporate commitments below are a road map to support our journey:

1.0 Introduction of the sustainable structures and support for WCH stakeholders

1.1  Creation of “Office of Equity”
1.2  Recruitment of Director role and resources to support Equity
1.3  Introduction of WCH Corporate Equity Committee (CEC)
1.4  Introduction of Board Task Force – Anti-Black Racism
1.5  Development of an organizational education plan

2.0 Development of an Anti-Black Racism Plan

2.1  Development of a multi-year plan with multi-level strategies to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression (includes Equity/Health Equity
2.2  Development of implementation plan to support a sustainable approach applying a lens of transparency, accountability and sustainability
2.3  Develop and Implement an Employment/Practice/Volunteer Equity Program

3.0 Development of a Monitoring & Evaluation Framework

3.1  Develop a demographic based information collection approach inclusive of our patients, staff, volunteers and physicians
3.2  Identify Key Performance Indicators to monitor and evaluate our journey
3.3  Design engagement process to obtain qualitative feedback
– Such as potential sub-committee of CEC – Black Association or Affinity Group
– Engagement survey – annual evolved approach
3.4 Develop and Implement an Organizational Reporting process
– ABR Task Force of the Board
– Communication Plan
– Metrics identified across appropriate organizational scorecards

A high-quality healthcare organization starts with a culture that promotes equity and reduces disparities.

The Women’s College Hospital Equity Roadmap is an essential tool to guide our work to build an organizational culture focused on equity, inclusion, diversity, accessibility, anti-racism and anti-oppression; and to contribute to better outcomes for patients, families and providers within the health system.

Our WCH Equity Roadmap is grounded in the [r]Evolution: Build Back Better Strategy and further aligned with the Ontario Health Equity, Inclusion, Diversity and Anti-Racism Framework, and has been informed by recent literature, evidence-based best practice, theory and frameworks, consultative conversations, in addition to a scan of the current environmental state.

This Equity Roadmap offers a plan for the explicit and deliberate actions that are urgently required to reduce health inequities and create an organizational culture that will contribute to better outcomes for the communities we serve.