Lessons Learned from the Collection of Sociodemographic Data During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Data to Enable a Learning Health System, Integrating Health & Social Care
Data collection, Sociodemographic Data Collection


For Public Health Units (PHU) to respond to the health needs of the population informed by evidence, there is a need to better understand the barriers and enablers to collect sociodemographic data. We are interested in understanding what staff think about the collection and use of sociodemographic data in the PHU setting, so that mechanisms may be developed to support data collection as part of public health practice going forward to inform health equity interventions.


The project will develop a set of recommendations that PHU can use to inform their planning and implementation of new sociodemographic data collection initiatives. In addition, the research team will produce knowledge translation materials such as webinar and report to support PHU on enablers and barriers to sociodemographic data collection.

The project team gratefully acknowledges funding received from Public Health Ontario through the Locally Driven Collaborative Projects program.


PHO Webinar: Lessons Learned from Sociodemographic Data During COVID-19
In this Public Health Ontario webinar, the presenters discuss lessons learned from the collection of SDD during the COVID-19 pandemic from 34 Ontario public health units. They also provide recommendations for the improvement and scale-up of SDD collection beyond COVID-19 to other public health programs and services.



Monali Varia, Director, Public Health Intelligence, Peel Public Health

Aideen Reynolds, Knowledge Exchange Specialist, Epidemiology and Surveillance, Ottawa Public Health

Dr. Andrew Pinto, Founder and Director, Upstream Lab


Lessons learned from the collection of sociodemographic data during the COVID-19 pandemic: Final Report and Recommendations
The health inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated have reset public and community stakeholders’ expectations for health data reporting, including the collection and reporting of SDD elements, further increasing the importance of scaling this work in the years ahead. While much work has been done to understand and develop best practices for the collection of SDD in healthcare settings, a better understanding of successful SDD collection strategies in public health settings is needed.

Read the report

Team Members