Health of Ontario’s working class in sharp decline: Study

Anti-poverty advocates rally for an increase to minimum wage rates
By Sabrina Nanji
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 08/14/2013

The working class in Canada’s most populous province are in bad shape — and will only get worse if changes aren’t made, a recent study revealed.

Released by the Wellesley Institute in Toronto at the end of July, Rising Inequality, Declining Health showed the health and overall well-being of Ontario’s working poor is in sharp decline compared to previous years.

The numbers are grim. Between 1996 and 2009, workers below the poverty line who rated their health as "excellent or very good" dropped from 68 per cent to 49 per cent. Even more drastic is that the eight per cent of workers who deemed their health "fair or poor" more than doubled, up to 19 per cent. Whereas the study primarily focused on Ontario, the same trends were mirrored across the country — but less extreme. The study concluded that, in Ontario, those who lived and worked in poverty self-assessed themselves to have much worse health than those workers who made enough to support themselves.