Wealth tied to health

By Victoria Gray, The Tribune

Dr. Dennis Raphael

Dr. Dennis Raphael


With poverty comes a greater risk of being sick.

That’s according to Dr. Dennis Raphael, a professor of health policy and management at York University, who visited Bridges Community Health Centre on Monday to kick off the first nationwide Health Week.

There he spoke about social inequality and relative poverty in Canada and how it affects health.

He said it’s a fact that poor people get sick more often and die younger than wealthy people.

“There is a direct correlation between income and health,” he said.

Raphael argued that if the government spent more money on social assistance programs or taxed wealthy people more aggressively levels of social inequalities would shrink.

“The money is there. Our economy is more successful than Sweden, for example, and their levels of poverty are much lower,” he said.

In order to reduce poverty and increase good health in the country the poor need Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program benefits increased and the middle class and working poor need raises or improved education and job training opportunities.

Raphael said the best way to make those things happen is to lobby the government and start a much needed conversation about poverty and health.


Relative Poverty: When a family doesn’t have the income to buy things considered “normal,” such as buy winter boots

26% more people have used food banks since 2008

0.2% of Canada’s GDP is spent on child care and education before elementary school services

1% of Canada’s GDP is spent on family benefits, such as tax breaks.

Canadian families have 40% less assets in 2012 than they did in 1986.

Canadian families have 33% less wealth in 2012 than they did in 1986.


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