Linking public health practice with population health assessment is built on the collection, analysis and reporting of data related to:

  • Mortality
  • Hospitalization
  • Disease Incidence
  • Reproductive behaviours and outcomes
  • Dental and oral health
  • Risk and protective factors including knowledge, attitudes and behaviours
  • Environmental health risks
  • Social determinants of health including demographic and socio-economic characteristics

Population health assessment and surveillance is the foundation of public health practice. This contributes to:

  • The effective and efficient identification of current and evolving health issues
  • Evidence informed decision-making related to services and public policies for managing health risks and improving health outcomes

Core functions of health surveillance and epidemiology:

  • Identifying population health information needs
  • Advocating for solutions to data gaps
  • Developing indicators and related information
  • Analyzing population health data using relevant epidemiological methods
  • Monitoring and reporting trends in health and health determinants using appropriate data visualization techniques
  • Identifying emerging issues
  • Upholding standards and using quality assurance methods to ensure that population health status information is accurate, timely, meaningful, relevant and accessible
  • Integrating health status information with decision making

This work is directed by the Ontario Public Health Standards.

For current active surveillance initiatives, please see Health Inspections and Monitoring.

Toronto’s Population Health Profile provides the most current health status of our city. It is intended to focus community partners and all levels of government on the complex issues pertaining to the health and well-being of Torontonians.

Updating the City’s understanding of Toronto’s health status is an important step towards assessing the impacts of the pandemic on the City’s well-being. The report can inform future strategies and decisions to improve the health of residents and to reduce health inequities.

T.O. Health Check provides an overview of the city’s health status using available and relevant local data to help understand and inform the collective health needs of Torontonians. A wide array of population health indicators are included and organized by areas of public health concern.

Healthy Aging in Toronto (2017) provides an overview of the key risk factors, protective behaviours, social determinants and health outcomes associated with healthy aging.

This report reviews trends in developmental health in Toronto from 2005 to 2015, using data from the Early Developmental Instrument (EDI). It provides a snapshot of how children in Toronto are faring and identifies inequities in healthy development, including a focus on children with special needs.

Methodological details are included in the Technical Report.

Child Developmental Health in Toronto (2017)

Child Developmental Health in Toronto (2017): Technical Report


In 2017, Toronto Public Health surveyed over 1,000 mothers about how they were feeding their babies during the first six months. The Infant Feeding Surveillance Project technical report outlines the study methods, results, and recommendations.

Toronto Public Health, with support from the Toronto school boards, conducted a school-based survey in 2014 to help better understand the health and health behaviours of Toronto youth, from grades 7 to 12. Highlights of the findings are available in Healthy Futures.

Un avenir en santé : Sondage auprès des jeunes scolarisés – Bureau de santé publique de Toronto (2014)

Healthy Futures Infographic

TPH Student Survey Research Methods

The Unequal City (2015) report provides information on differences in health between income groups in Toronto by describing the relationship between income and health for 34 health status indicators and changes in health inequities over approximately 10 years. The Unequal City 2015 Technical Report provides more in-depth findings and detailed methods.

The Global City (2011) report describes the health advantage that most newcomers bring to Toronto, the decline in their health over time and the need to strengthen efforts to support newcomers, especially those whose health risks are compounded by their income level, gender, immigration status, ethno-racial background, sexual orientation or other factors.

If you would like more information or to obtain a copy, please email us at or call 416-392-7450.

This guide provides a basic understanding of the statistical concepts and tools frequently used by TPH to describe health survey data.