Category: Income Security & access to the social determinants of health

Discussion on the National Housing Strategy – homelessness and housing meets the rest of society

In depth discussion where a basic human need, housing relates to the needs of all of us including: homelessness, social housing, renting, and families buying a house.

See panel discussion here: Agenda Discussion on Federal Housing Strategy November 2017



When a progressive model of community based care looses its values, in the name of VALUE

British experience shared by Alex Fox, with the impacts of the  use of “lowest bidder” on client community based care.

… This was not what was envisaged by disabled people and their families who developed personalisation, which was the idea that people would plan the most effective care and support when they were in control of an individual planning process which started with what a good life looked like, not with a list of low-cost services. Planning creatively in this way enables people to make best use of their own capacity and of the family and community resources available to them. That also usually results in the most independence and lowest overall cost to the state, whereas narrow price-focused processes bring missed opportunities for independence, or lead to family care breaking down. But instead of people planning a life, and then choosing the support they need to live it, care providers now compete for the individual, and an algorithm makes the choice. …

see the article here

Call for a “renewed” national agency to address social infrastructure

Michael Mendelson of the recently closing Caledon Institute lays out a vision of a new agency to build upon the history of councils working on social welfare.

…Today the National Council of Welfare is gone. The Canadian
Council on Social Development barely exists, limping along with little
national presence. These two core national agencies, which provided a
prominent voice for ‘social Canada,’ are no longer heard. At the same
time, many other national groups that were important to social policy
have also disappeared, such as the Economic Council of Canada. As of
November 2017, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, to which this author
is affiliated and which has been critical in developing many practical
social policy innovations over the last two and a half decades (most notably
the child benefit system introduced by the new Trudeau government),
will also close up shop.

For Canada to remain a nation that aspires to protect our most
vulnerable citizens while providing equal opportunity for all, we cannot
stand still in the face of the challenges to come. We must evolve and
adapt our social security and development systems to the reality of the
world around us. This is not a task for government alone. Business,
labor, media, religious and Indigenous organizations and many others in
both our economic life and our civil society must play a role.

What Canada is missing is an ‘institutional’ national agency,
which can bring together the many and varied elements of civil society,
government and others towards continuously assessing, improving and
adapting our nation’s social infrastructure to ever-changing circumstances.
But neither the National Council of Welfare nor the Canadian Council
on Social Development as they were established would be suitable for
today’s needs. …

See the proposal here:

Basic Income, a Critical Ingredient for Social Enterprise

CASW, shared this article.

A new study from the Mowat Centre in Toronto suggests that a basic income program could encourage people to take the leap and start their own socially conscious businesses.

The study involved surveying and interviewing members of the Centre for Social Innovation, which has sites in Toronto. It indicated that a basic income could give a leg up to people with a bright idea but limited resources to get it off the ground.

“Given our research, we think that a basic income could de-risk social entrepreneurship for people. We think that it could encourage more people from marginalized communities to try social entrepreneurship as a career,” said Michael Crawford Urban, a policy associate at the Mowat Centre and co-author of the report. …

See the rest of the article:

See the MOWAT Centre report here

Consultation on feds’ Poverty Reduction Strategy, Wednesday May 31st

From Linda Lalonde outlining suggestions to approach the federal consultation, with a bunch of “highlighting from me.

Hi Folks,

Tell the federal government how to reduce poverty in Canada! The Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network (OPRN) needs your input.

As you may know, the federal government is looking at developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy in the near future and is consulting people about what that would look like. They are doing that primarily via an on-line survey but there is also an option of an in-person consultation. They have contracted the Tamarack Institute to get consultations done in up to 30 communities across Canada through their Vibrant Communities – Cities Reducing Poverty initiative which Ottawa is part of with the OPRN as lead.

What would make a difference in our community? What do we need to improve? What do we need to get rid of? What could the feds do to reduce poverty?

We’re holding two sessions on May 31st, one from 1 to 4 pm and the second from 6:30 to 9:30 pm to get your opinion. Both sessions are the same so you only need to attend one and the evening session has limited space so please come in the afternoon if you can. They will be at the Overbrook Community Centre, 33 Quill St, Ottawa.

Registration is at:

This event is free but we will accept donations of bus tickets and other support. As we get more bus tickets, the number of “Tickets with bus fare” will increase. Bus tickets for participants will be available at the event if requested in advance – please choose the ticket that includes bus fare. The #18 bus comes to the Centre from St Laurent Station and the Rideau Centre and stops right outside on Quill at Queen Mary.

There is parking behind the Centre and on surrounding streets.

A report will be provided to all participants and the federal government following the event.

If you want to do some prep, take a look at the Dignity for All National Anti-Poverty Plan which will give you some background and ideas. It’s at:

We hope that you can join us and guide the federal government towards a poverty reduction strategy that will work.

Looking forward to seeing you there!



“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.” – Herman Melville

Parliamentary E-petition 959, which calls for national pharmacare during this federal government’s mandate

Circulated Petition –

From: “Morgan, Steve” <>

I am writing to ask you to consider signing and sharing Parliamentary E-petition 959, which calls for national pharmacare during this federal government’s mandate. As you know, pharmacare in Canada can and should be a public drug plan that is universal, comprehensive, evidence-based, and sustainable.

This is not my petition, but it is important to get behind it. That is because the federal government might interpret a lack of signatures as a lack of public interest — even though national polling data and the Citizens’ Reference Panel on Pharmacare in Canada show that a vast majority of Canadians support universal pharmacare!

As published in the Toronto Star today, here are my four main reasons why pharmacare is important enough to act on. Please feel free to share this widely.

  1. Access to essential medicines is a human right

The most important reason for universal pharmacare in Canada is that access to essential medicines is actually a human right according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO recommends that countries protect that right in law and with pharmaceutical policies that work in conjunction with their broader systems of universal health coverage. Consistent with this, every other high-income country with a universal health care system provides universal coverage of prescription drugs. It is time Canada did the same.

  1. Universal pharmacare would save lives

Canada’s patchwork of private and public drug plans leaves millions of Canadians without coverage. As a result, Canadians are three to five times more likely to skip prescriptions because of cost than are residents of comparable countries with universal pharmacare programs. A 2012 study estimated that inequities in drug coverage for working-age Ontarians with diabetes were associated with 5,000 deaths between 2002 and 2008. Nationally, this human toll would be equivalent to a major aviation disaster happening several times per year.

  1. Universal pharmacare would save money

Canadians spend 50 percent more per capita on pharmaceuticals than residents of the United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand and several other countries with universal pharmacare programs. This amounts to spending $12 billion more each year and still not having universal drug coverage. Why? Because the universal pharmacare programs in other countries use their purchasing power to obtain better drug prices than our fractured system. Among many examples of such price differences, a year’s supply of atorvastatin, a widely used cholesterol drug, costs about $143 in Canada but only $27 in the United Kingdom and Sweden, and under $15 in New Zealand.

  1. Universal pharmacare would help Canadian businesses

The rising cost of pharmaceuticals are a growing burden on Canadian businesses. Part of the problem is that Canadian employers waste between $3 billion and $5 billion per year because employment-related private insurance is ill equipped to manage pharmaceutical costs effectively. Another part of the problem is that the number of prescription drugs costing more than $10,000 per year has grown almost ten-fold in the past decade. Because such costs can quickly render a work-related health plan unsustainable — particularly for small businesses — it is best to manage them at a province- or nation-wide basis.

Nevertheless, universal pharmacare will not happen unless citizens speak up

Billions of dollars in savings to Canadian taxpayers, employers and households equals billions of dollars of lost revenues to pharmaceutical industry stakeholders. Those stakeholders will not make it easy for government to implement universal pharmacare, no matter the benefit to Canadians and the broader economy.

To make pharmacare a reality for Canada, citizens need to get informed and involved. If they support the idea of universal, public pharmacare, they need to let others, particularly elected officials and political candidates, know they care and that they will support a government that takes action.

So, please, take the time to sign Parliamentary E-petition 959 and to share this with your colleagues, friends, and family.

Thank you!

Respectfully yours,

Steve Morgan PhD

Professor | Faculty of Medicine | School of Population and Public Health

The University of British Columbia | Vancouver Campus

Email: | Web:  |  Twitter: @SteveUBC

“Every other developed country with a universal health care system provides universal coverage of prescription drugs … so should Canada!”

Ontario Budget 2017: ISAC response and analysis

More than 930,000 Ontarians continue to wait for incomes that give health and dignity: Other announcements bring much-needed change

Ontario’s 2017 Budget does very little to address the deep poverty experienced by people relying on support from Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), particularly those without other sources of income.

The Budget does make meaningful and substantial change to OW and ODSP rules around asset and gift exemptions, and significant increases to allowances for people in remote northern communities, all of which are welcome improvements.

As well, the Budget reiterates government’s commitment to income security reform, signalling the importance of the upcoming report from the Income Security Reform Working Group.

The Budget’s signature program announcement, prescription drug coverage for all Ontarians aged 24 years and under, makes major progress on expanding drug coverage beyond seniors and those receiving social assistance.

And while advocates are looking forward to comprehensive change to Ontario’s labour laws in the upcoming Changing Workplaces Review report, no new investments have yet been made in employment standards enforcement.

more follow below

Source: Ontario Budget 2017: ISAC response and analysis