You are doing a lot of work for the little bit of money that you get, and then when you do get a raise it is so small, it doesn’t make a difference. So you are there trying to scrape together; OK well I have this much money and have these bills, trying to make things work. It is very frustrating, stressful.
(Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015, page 42)
While developing our 2013 Community Health Plan, our community told us that all aspects of inequity—for example, poverty, race, disability, sexual orientation, literacy, and language barriers—impact their lives and health. And the biggest contributor to inequity is poverty. To quote from our Health Plan:
The high cost of prescription drugs, healthy foods, dental care, home care and recreation programs were key barriers to accessing health-related services, particularly for the “working poor”, who do not receive support from Community Services or have the financial ability to pay for services. (2013 Community Health Plan, p2)
Because we look at our communities from the perspective of the Social Determinants of Health, issues of poverty and inequity are important to us, as they are to those living in our community. (Read more about the Social Determinants of Health by clicking here)
Recently, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia and the United Way Halifax, published a report that looks at a living wage as one way of beginning to address poverty and inequity in our community. Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015 defines a living wage as “what it actually costs to live and raise a family in a specific community.” (page 2) For Halifax, the living wage is $20.10 per hour for each adult earner in a family. This would enable families to meet their basic needs and enjoy a good quality of life. It would:
· Enable families who are working to escape poverty
· Foster healthy childhood development
· Encourage gender equality
· Alleviate severe financial stress and provide some level of economic security
· Allow for active participation in the social, cultural, and civic life of the community
(Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015, page 2)All of these outcomes are issues included in the Social Determinants of Health.
As a Community Health Board, we believe achieving a healthy community is a shared responsibility that needs involvement from a wide variety of individuals, groups and sectors. Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015 offers a starting point for discussing the health impacts of poverty in our community and an interesting and well researched proposal for addressing the issue.
- Download a copy of Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015 by clicking here
- Click here to find out how to calculate a living wage
- Find our 2013 Community Health Plan by clicking here
- See the Halifax CHB insert to the 2013 Community Health Plan by clicking here and downloading PDF from link.
- Read more about the Social Determinants of Health by clicking here