Jan 30, 2007
Health Providers Against Poverty proposes that, at a minimum, the upcoming Ontario Budget includes an increase in welfare rates of 40% across the board. This will help to prevent the most egregious health consequences of living in poverty, and will result in a healthier society.
While we support targeted initiatives to improve the subsidies provided to families with children, and to improve the job skills of people living on welfare, it is a simple increase in income that will allow people living on social assistance the opportunity to stay healthy. Legislated poverty is unacceptable in a society as wealthy as ours. We can afford to take this step to improve the health of our province, and it will have a greater real impact on the lives of people in need than almost any other measure this budget is likely to include.
Download the full 2007 Ontario Pre-Budget Submission by Dr. Gary Bloch
Special Diet Expert Review Committee
Director, Ontario Disability Support Program
80 Grosvenor St., 3rd floor
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1E9
June 5, 2006
Re: Evidence-based submissions for consideration by the expert committee
I am writing on behalf of Health Providers Against Poverty to ask that “Poverty” be included as a medical condition in the Special Diets Schedule.
There is clear evidence in the medical literature linking poverty to morbidity and mortality. Attached, please find a referenced summary that details this relationship between poverty and health. In addition, please find a document prepared by Toronto Public Health entitled “The Cost of a Nutritious Food Basket in Toronto – 2004”.
It is our opinion that the diagnosis of Poverty should be added to the Schedule; this diagnosis should mandate a special diet consisting of the Nutritious Food Basket as described by Toronto Public Health. The analysis by Toronto Public Health states that a single person on Ontario Works needs $285.43 more money per month to afford to purchase the Nutritious Food Basket while living in market rent accommodation. As per their analysis, we are asking that the committee grant every person on social assistance who is diagnosed with Poverty $285.43 per month so that they can afford to purchase a Nutritious Food Basket.
We realize that a better solution to the poverty of people on social assistance is to raise social assistance rates themselves by the needed 40% and we hope that you will join us in lobbying the provincial government to that effect. But, until social assistance rates are raised, including Poverty as a medical diagnosis in the Schedule will allow health providers to directly improve the morbidity and mortality of impoverished social assistance recipients by prescribing them money for a healthy diet.
We thank you for considering our submission. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or at 416-203-4507.
Tara Kiran, MD, CCFP
Steering Committee Member
Health Providers Against Poverty
Download a PDF version of the Letter