Financial inequality hurting Canadian's health, says CMA poll

Governments have a role to play in ensuring citizens live healthy lives.

Ottawa (15 Aug. 2012) - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) released results of a poll indicating that the health of Canadians is suffering due to the widening gap between the rich and poor in Canada. Results show that one in four Canadians earning less than $30,000 a year say they have put off, or stopped buying, prescription drugs because they can’t afford them; one in four has skipped meals.

The poll was released as the CMA gathered for its yearly meeting, and echoed themes raised in the speech by doctor and leading health policy expert from the United Kingdom, Sir Michael Marmot. Marmot is also the past president of the British Medical Association and a key adviser to the British government. In his address to the medical community, he said that governments have a moral responsibility to "make it easier for people to be healthy." 

Marmot suggested that all government policy should be evaluated "for its likely impact on the lives people are able to lead,” and, by extension, its impact on their health. Marmot is well known for leading the landmark Whitehall study of British civil servants, investigating the relationship between health and social circumstances.

His speech also focused on the role governments must play in creating the conditions for people to live healthy lives.

"That includes giving every child the best possible start in life, creating fair employment and good working conditions and a healthy standard of living for all," he said.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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