To improve health, tackle poverty: Canadian Medical Association report

Over the past several months, the Canadian Medical Association conducted a nationwide consultation with Canadians abut the social determinants of health. The result is a clear message – that poverty is the main issue that must be addressed to improve the health of Canadians and eliminate health inequities.

The report, Health Care in Canada: What Makes us Sick? (July 2013), was prepared following a series of six town-hall meetings and an online consultation that attracted more than 1,000 participants. The health challenges facing Aboriginal people specifically was the focus of the first town-hall meeting. From the discussions, four factors were seen as having the most substantial impact on health in Canada at this time: income, housing, nutrition, and early childhood development.

Twelve recommendations are made in the report, and reflect the views expressed by participants in the meeting and through online consultation. They cover a wide range of topics, and start with a call for “federal, provincial and territorial governments [to] give top priority to developing an action plan to eliminate poverty in Canada.” A second recommendation proposes that a guaranteed-annual-income approach for dealing with poverty be evaluated and tested through a major pilot project. Two recommendations deal specifically with Aboriginal health issues.

For more information and to read the report, visit the CMA website here: