A Sudbury city councillor said Friday he was stunned to learn his ward is one of the most unhealthy areas in Greater Sudbury.
The Sudbury and District Health Unit released a study Thursday connecting socio-economic status to health in the city.
When Coun. Claude Berthiaume saw a map inside the report he was shocked.
"What I saw was all my ward was painted red," he said.
Most of Berthiaume's ward — specifically Rayside-Balfour — has been identified by as one of the most deprived areas in Greater Sudbury.
The health unit spent two years collecting data from Statistics Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health to create this report.
"And [we looked] at all the incidents of emergency visits, or hospitalizations or premature deaths," said Marc Lefebvre, manager of population surveillance with the health unit.
The report shows that not everyone in Sudbury has the same opportunities for a healthy life.
It even goes so far as to say that, if everyone in the city had health equity, the emergency department would have 14,000 fewer visits a year, and 131 fewer people would die before age 75.
While he finds the information shocking, Berthiaume said knowing these numbers will help him advocate for what his wards needs.
Sudbury's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe said this is the first time the health unit has collected data on different areas of the city, and also looked at the health of people in those areas.
Sutcliffe says the health unit doesn't believe the data will create a stigma for certain areas of the city.
"By and large, these are things that are well known in our community. And I also think that there's a lot to be gained from having the information, having the numbers, facing them — not hiding from them — but facing them, and asking ourselves, individually and collectively, are these differences acceptable?"
Sutcliffe said the data provides opportunity for the deprived areas to be better serviced to improve the health of those citizens.
The full report is available on the health unit's website.