Feb 24, 2012

Health Providers Against Poverty Concerned About Impact of Drummond Report on Ontarians Who Live in Poverty

TORONTO – “The government has used this Commission to lay out its austerity agenda”, states Laura Hanson, a registered nurse in Toronto and member of Health Providers Against Poverty (HPAP). “If implemented, these changes will put this government in lock step with local, national, and international governments focused on “austerity”. This approach preferentially targets services and supports that benefit the poor. We are very concerned that this will result in a major blow to the health of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Poverty is a major risk factor for poor health, leading to higher rates of depression, heart disease, diabetes and infant mortality.

Dr. Gary Bloch, a family physician and member of HPAP, notes, “What happened to this government’s commitment to reduce poverty? Tackling the deficit should not happen on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society. This government has a choice, to tax the wallets and health of the poor through a reduction in the supports they depend on, or to tax the rich to maintain those supports, while creating a more equitable and healthy society. As a health provider, the choice to me is obvious.”

Recently, Minister of Health Deb Matthews commented on how she was told by a retired janitor on the campaign trail to keep him in mind as a taxpayer when she makes decisions about health care spending.

“We ask the Premier and Minister Matthews to keep that janitor, the working poor and those dependent on social assistance in mind when they decide on the future of health care and social services,” said Hanson.