Don’t smoke, don’t be poor, read before signing: Linking health literacy and legal capability

This discussion paper aims to share ideas and promising practices from health literacy and promotion work in order to help improve the legal capability of vulnerable people in Ontario. It also identifies some opportunities to improve delivery of PLE to vulnerable people both from the front lines and systemically.

One major observation drawn from the paper: in the health information and promotion sector there has been universal recognition that “social determinants of health” – the economic and social conditions that affect individuals and communities – influence a person’s ability to become health literate. In contrast, while the emerging concept of legal capability does attempt to address barriers to justice on a general level, there is little specific recognition on the impact of social determinants on the ability to achieve legal capability.