Op-Ed: Poverty Impacts Health in Rural Ontario

The erosion of social assistance rates, rise in precarious employment, increasing costs of living, colonization, and systemic racism all contribute to poverty in Ontario. This has a significant and detrimental impact on health, particularly in parts of the province where there is inequitable access to health care.

HPAP member and family physician, Katie Dorman, writes about this in her recent editorial in The Toronto Star.

Decent Work and Health Network Event

Join an important upcoming discussion on precarious work and health in Ontario, hosted by the Decent Work and Health Network

Tuesday July 19, 2016 – 4 to 6 pm
St. Michael’s Hospital, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
Room 241, 204 Victoria Street, Toronto
Light refreshments will be served
RSVP here

The Decent Work and Health Network is a collaboration between Health Providers Against Poverty and the Worker’s Action Centre

Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review is a once in a generation opportunity to change the laws around employment and address the growing precarious work in the province. The aim of this event is to develop a health sector response to the Interim Report of the Changing Workplaces Review, since it is well recognized that precarious work leads to poor health.

OHIP For All Campaign

In Canada we believe we have a universal health care system. And yet, there are an estimated 500,000 people who do not have access to healthcare coverage. They are our neighbours, they work in our communities, and our children go to school together.

Pregnant women have foregone prenatal care, children have been turned away from emergency care, and people have been denied life-saving surgery and cancer treatment. For those that do access care, hospital bills can lead to crippling debt. These are the dangerous and devastating consequences of denying people in our communities OHIP.

Health Providers Against Poverty has endorsed the OHIP For All campaign.
Here’s what you can do:
1) Sign the open letter online
2) Like OHIP For All on Facebook and follow on Twitter (@ohipforall)
3) Join the Rally for OHIP For All on Tues June 28 at 12PM
4) Spread the word


OHIP For All Poster.jpg


HPAP Members Call For WSIB Reform

On June 10, 2016, HPAP members signed an open letter urging the Worker’s Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to improve access to necessary health care for injured workers.

More Information:
WSIB Critics Say Spending Cuts Are ‘Devastating’ Injured Workers
The Toronto Star – June 10, 2016

Press Release: Injured Workers Demonstrate in 7 Cities
IAVGO Community Legal Clinic – June 10, 2016

HPAP Annual General Meeting

Please join us for the Health Providers Against Poverty AGM 2016!

When: Thursday, May 5, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Where: United Steelworker’s Hall, 25 Cecil St, Toronto
Register: Seating is limited, please register HERE.

We are thrilled to have Desmond Cole as our guest speaker. He is a well known activist and freelance journalist in Toronto, as well as a staff writer at Torontoist. His work also appears in the Toronto Star, The Walrus, Toronto Life, VICE, NOW Magazine, and Ethnic Aisle.

We will review the past year:

  • Helping to start the Decent Work and Health Network
  • Collaborating with allies at Workers’ Action Centre and OCAP
  • Contributing to changes in ODSP reviews
  • Fundraising and building our membership

We will also hold elections for the steering committee and discuss plans for an exciting new campaign!

If you have not completed your 2016 membership form, please do so here.

Memberships will also be available at the AGM – suggested donation of $25.

Groups Propose Basic Income For Food Security

Health Providers Against Poverty endorsed a recent Position Statement from the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health calling for a basic income pilot in Ontario.

The need for urgent action on income inequity and food insecurity was highlighted in this letter to Premier Wynne and the provincial government.

“OSNPPH members apply the cost of the Nutritious Food Basket and average rental housing costs to various family composition and income scenarios in both Northern and non-Northern jurisdictions. Year after year, our analyses clearly indicate that families and individuals who have minimum wage incomes or receive social assistance do not have enough money to cover the basic cost of living”

“As demonstrated in our Position Statement, the primary community response to food insecurity – food charity – is an ineffective and counterproductive response to food insecurity because it does not address the root cause which is poverty. While food charity may help to relieve immediate hunger in those who seek assistance, food insecurity persists. To effectively address food insecurity, income responses are required.”

More information:
Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2013

OCAP Rally For Food Justice

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty held a successful Rally for Food Justice on April 9, 2016. HPAP member Katie Dorman shared the following message.

“I’m a family physician working in Northern Ontario and member of Health Providers Against Poverty, sending my support for OCAPs rally against food poverty and hunger.

Every day I see the damaging effects of excessive food prices on people’s health. Food insecurity, both in the amount and type of food that people can afford, is contributing to premature mortality across Ontario.

Along the James Bay coast, the Northern Stores have a monopoly. 1 orange costs $3, 1 can of soup costs over $6, 3 bags of milk costs nearly $10. At the same time, the CEO of the North West Company earns over 5 million dollars per year.

Children are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and cannot afford to eat healthy.

People who are hungry have no food bank to turn to.

Colonization and systematic cultural oppression have deprived many indigenous peoples of their traditional sustenance, while ongoing exploitation by large corporations intensifies food insecurity. On top of this, chronic underfunding of education, health care, children’s services, and social infrastructure intensify the effects of poverty and hunger.

It’s time for this to end. We need food security for all Ontarians.”

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MC Chanteal Lee reading a message from HPAP member Katie Dorman