Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Questions and Answers About HealthMAPS

What is HealthMAPS?

HealthMAPS is a web-based tool, which consists of a collection of interactive maps showing both geographic and time-based trends for key public health indicators in Simcoe Muskoka. It includes dynamically linked tables, graphs, and maps with pre-calculated statistics.

HealthMAPS displays information on each dashboard by three levels of local geography: 20 Simcoe Muskoka health planning areas, including six in the City of Barrie; 24 municipalities; and the six LHIN sub-regions within Simcoe Muskoka. The dashboards also include comparison data for Simcoe Muskoka, County of Simcoe, District of Muskoka, North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, Central LHIN and Ontario overall.

There are currently five HealthMAPS “dashboards” posted to the website, including: Population and Demographics; Health Status and Behaviours; Substance Use and Injury Program; Chronic Diseases; and Mental Health.

Where can I find HealthMAPS?

You can find HealthMAPS on our HealthSTATS website, under the Maps tab.

Why did the health unit develop HealthMAPS?

Sharing health status data at smaller levels of geography through this kind of tool can help with local program planning and prioritization. The Ontario Public Health Standards require that programs and services be tailored to reflect the local context and be responsive to the needs of the community, including communities most affected by social and health inequities.

Simcoe Muskoka is a large area with diverse populations and HealthMAPS helps us understand the health and behaviours differ or vary across our region. It’s important to remember however, that the summary information we are presenting does not necessarily reflect the experiences of individuals within those communities, but rather describes the average experience of everyone in the community.

In addition, HealthMAPS helps to meet increasing demands from staff and community partners for smaller area data.

What information can I find on HealthMAPS?

Dashboards are grouped by topic. There are currently five HealthMAPS dashboards, including:

  • Population and Demographics: detailed population and demographic data, including population counts, income, education, housing and cultural characteristics.
  • Health Status and Behaviours: data on the general health of the population as well as select health behaviours and risk factors like smoking, drinking alcohol and physical activity.
  • Substance Use and Injuries: data on opioid poisoning emergency department (ED) visits as well as ED visits, hospitalizations and deaths for a select number of injury-related causes.
  • Chronic Diseases: data on the prevalence, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths for select chronic diseases.
  • Mental Health: data on mental wellbeing of the population as well as emergency department visits and hospitalizations for select causes of mental illness.
How did you choose which municipalities to include in the planning areas?

Each planning area needs to have enough of a population base to report reliable statistics – the goal was between 20,000 and 40,000.

With the exception of Barrie, all areas are either whole municipalities or groupings of municipalities. Municipalities were grouped together based on proximity and similar sociodemographic characteristics where possible.

Because of the large population base and the diverse sociodemographic areas across the city, it was possible to divide Barrie into six areas. Alignment with City Wards is good but not exact.

Is the same health information available for our First Nations communities?
Data for five First Nations communities and one Canadian Forces Base are currently not included on HealthMAPS (with the exception of some demographic data for First Nations Reserves).

How do I use HealthMAPS?

HealthMAPS is accessible from our website at, or you can go to our HealthSTATS page and click on the MAPS tab at the top. You can explore the data by customizing geography and indicators, and compare across geographies and over time. The data can be explored online using the dashboard tool OR can be downloaded as an excel file by clicking on the ‘Download data’ button in the top right corner.

How is HealthMAPS different from HealthSTATS?

The HealthSTATS section of our website contains data and information on the health of Simcoe Muskoka residents, on a variety of topics of public health importance, and is updated on an ongoing basis. Topics range from chronic diseases, to cancer to tobacco to infectious diseases, immunization and sexual health.

Local data has usually been presented on HealthSTATS as Simcoe Muskoka with a comparison to the Ontario average. However, Simcoe Muskoka has diverse populations and there is a need to understand how population, health status and behaviours vary across our region. Understanding patterns of health in our communities can help with local program planning and prioritization. HealthMAPS has this more localized information with comparison data from Simcoe Muskoka, Simcoe County, the District of Muskoka, the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network, the Central LHIN and Ontario overall.

Will there be more information added to HealthMAPS?
Yes, dashboards will be expanded and updated as new data is available and new dashboards will be developed to cover additional topics of public health importance.