On Friday September 27, Joe and I attended a workshop in Pembroke titled ‘Creating a Better Future for Our Children’ which was focussed on poverty and the Social Determinants of Health. While I learned many interesting things and heard a lot of detailed statistics, the main theme of the day was definitely that poverty is bad for your health. Not surprised? Neither was I, but the information came from a perspective I had not considered before.
News: Poverty in Canada
Now that we’ve passed the halfway point of the year, it’s a good time to check out some of the trends reported on in Bearing the Brunt, CPJ’s study of the recession and poverty. How is that recovery coming along?
Statistics reveal a mixed bag – some improving trends, and some discouraging ones. Overall, the picture is less robust than headlines about economic recovery would suggest. GDP may be growing steadily, but recovery has yet to trickle down to those who suffered most from the recession – the poor, economically vulnerable and unemployed.
Many Canadians have long celebrated the fact that everyone in Canada has access to free health care. The Canadian government is one of the world’s biggest spenders, proportionally, on national health care programs. But is all the spending making a difference? Is covering health care sufficient for the health and well being of all Canadians?
A new report issued from York University by Juha Mikkonen and Dennis Raphael, Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts, shows that health and well being is determined by many social factors, not just the health care system itself.The report shows that the circumstances in which people live play a significant role in their health and well being.
Just over a year ago, in April 2009, Libby Davies (MP, Vancouver East) introduced her private member’s bill for a “Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act” (Bill C-304). If passed, this legislation will require the establishment of a national housing strategy. A strategy developed in consultation with the provinces and other stakeholders that guarantees the right to safe, secure, adequate, affordable and accessible housing for all Canadians.
Bill C-304 is currently on its way to third reading. If passed, it would serve as landmark legislation by acknowledging the right to housing. It would also provide a valuable model for future legislative efforts to address poverty, its causes, consequences, and complexities.
When the first wave of H1N1 hit this past spring, it was quickly apparent that this new strain of flu was not affecting people equally. Individuals of First Nations descent, particularly in the Prairie provinces, were disproportionately vulnerable to the virus.
How and why does poverty happen? Who is experiencing poverty in Canada? How are communities and institutions addressing poverty? What further action must be taken?
These are some of the questions that CPJ staff members Chandra Pasma, Karri Munn-Venn and Mariel Angus will be reflecting on next week when they attend the Canadian Social Forum.
CPJ’s Envisioning Canada Without Poverty campaign, launched in April 2008, contained a call for the 2009 federal budget to include a poverty reduction strategy. But as we saw in late January, there was no such strategy in the budget. Does this mean our endeavours were unsuccessful?
“Absolutely not,” stated Chandra Pasma, CPJ’s public justice policy analyst. With letters, emails and phone calls, CPJ members let their MPs know that poverty is an important public justice issue, one that needs to be addressed immediately.
Yesterday, the government of Alberta released a ground-breaking new plan that aims to end homelessness in the province over the next ten years.The Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness has created a Plan for Alberta with the objective of ending homelessness by 2019.
While women in Canada enjoy relative equality in comparison to many other countries around the world, gender inequalities still exist. Government policies can help strengthen the status of women by offering opportunities for women to participate more fully in society. One such policy is childcare. Accessible, affordable, quality childcare can help promote women’s equality by assisting them with their domestic caring responsibilities and enabling them to engage in the paid workforce if they choose.
There’s a report today in the Globe and Mail that some Canadians are waiting up to 6 weeks for Employment Insurance payments.
EI payments are normally supposed to be received within 28 days of making an application. There is a mandatory 2 week waiting period, followed by two weeks to process and receive the payment.