Join the OCFP Poverty & Health Community of Practice for Family Physicians

The Ontario College of Family Physician’s Poverty & Health Committee has launched a Community of Practice (CoP), a network of family physicians committed to addressing poverty in clinical practice. The CoP’s primary objective is to facilitate the exchange of poverty and health resources and best practices.  We will communicate through an e-mail list serve and will endeavor to build relationships between members through annual meetings at the Family Medicine Forum (when hosted in Ontario) or the OCFP’s Annual Scientific Assembly.

We invite you to join us for an informal reception to launch the OCFP Poverty & Health Community of Practice, taking place at this year’s FMF in Toronto. We have included below all details regarding the reception. A guest pass is required for entry and can be picked up at the FMF registration desk.

Date: Wednesday November 11, 2015
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm drop-in (Guest Pass Required for Access – See FMF Registration Desk)
Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre – 700 level foyer
222 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9
Appetizers and refreshments will be served. No RSVP required.

Unable to attend but still interested in joining the OCFP Poverty and Health Community of Practice? Our registration page is open. Kindly visit to join now!

Press Release: Health Providers Demand Restoration of CSUMB

Dec 13, 2012

Health Providers Demand Restoration of Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit

TORONTO – Health Providers Against Poverty are joining anti-poverty activists across the province to call for a stop to cuts to the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB). The provincial Liberal’s are set to eliminate the CSUMB that some 16,000 people on social assistance in Ontario use every month to obtain or retain housing. The CSUMB allows people on welfare and disability to move into safer housing from hospital and shelters, domestic violence situations and homes that confer significant health risks such as bedbugs or mould.

“Health care providers know that income security and access to safe, affordable housing are critical determinants of health” says Laura Hanson, community nurse and HPAP member. “Every day we see the physical and mental impact of homelessness and unsafe living conditions”.

On December 13th, Health Providers Against Poverty will deliver a letter to the former Minister of Children and Youth Services and a current Liberal leadership candidate, Dr. Eric Hoskins. We appeal to Dr. Hoskins as a physician and self –described “renowned humanitarian”, to take immediate action to reverse this policy decision that will harm the poorest members of our communities.  HPAP is one of 10 groups holding events in the GTA to demand that this cut is stopped. Extensive research has documented that income and housing are critical determinants of health. As income drops, the likelihood of disease increases. Accordingly, income support provided to people living in poverty is an investment in the health of people across our province.

Health Providers Against Poverty is an interdisciplinary group committed to addressing poverty as a high impact health intervention.

For information on the Week of Action to Stop the Cut to the CSUMB go to


HPAP Annual Report 2011-2012

This past year was an important one for HPAP. We engaged in a number of campaigns ranging from protesting the closure of The School House Shelter, a harm reduction facility, to speaking out against cuts to refugee health care coverage, to protesting the government’s continued intransigence around addressing social assistance rates in this province. 

We have grown as a group, with a new HPAP chapter in Hamilton, Ontario. We remain a small core group of dedicated members and look to the coming year to build our numbers and particularly focus on engaging health professional trainees and colleagues from outside medicine and nursing.

As noted in a recent editorial in the Star, “Ontario has seen the continuous erosion of social assistance benefits and a system focused on surveillance and punishment rather than dignity and support,” and ” whether people on social assistance are able to achieve good health and live with dignity will be the ultimate test of social assistance reform.” 

Thank you for your continuous support.

Download the 2011-2012 Annual Report

Press Release: HPAP Applauds Social Assistance Review Report

Oct 25, 2015

Health Providers Against Poverty Applauds Social Assistance Review Report

TORONTO – Health Providers Against Poverty congratulates Social Assistance Review Commissioners Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh on a bold set of recommendations aimed at radically reforming Ontario’s Social Assistance system. The report, released yesterday, recommends an overhaul of supports for individuals on social assistance, as well as for other Ontarians living on a low income.

“People on social assistance – both Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program – have been living in extreme poverty for far too long. Working towards setting a basic liveable rate of social assistance, removing barriers that people face when entering the workforce and providing the working poor with much needed supports are positive steps forward in thinking about social assistance in Ontario,” said Laura Hanson.

“The greatest challenge now is ensuring its implementation. With parliament prorogued, and the Premier counting down the days to his retirement, there is every risk this report will be shelved,” said Gary Bloch, a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and a member of Health Providers Against Poverty Toronto. He continued: “Putting in place some of the quick wins, and an infrastructure to continue this commission’s work, presents a perfect opportunity for Mr. McGuinty to leave office with a legacy of improving the lot of some of the province’s most vulnerable residents.”

“The health evidence supports the view that an increase in social assistance benefits, support for re-entry to the workforce, and reduction of barriers in the system would improve the health of people and communities affected by poverty,” stated Katie Dorman, a Hamilton medical student and member of Health Providers Against Poverty. “This should be a priority for any government.”

Health Providers Against Poverty is a coalition of nurses, doctors, and other front line health providers that works to reduce poverty as a powerful health intervention.