Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Raise minimum wage, improve health

People who live in poor neighborhoods in British Columbia are twice as likely to die from chronic diseases as those who live in wealthier areas, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

The study, co-authored by PhD student Claire Heslop, is part of a wider body of evidence showing the growing health disparity in this province.

"We're missing the boat," said Heslop. "There might be a universal health care system but people are not getting the same level of health care across the board."

Heslop partnered with UBC researchers John Hill and Greg Miller. They followed 485 heart disease patients across the province for 13 years.

Although they didn't find a difference for heart disease survival rates, death from other chronic diseases, especially cancer, increased significantly for those in the lowest socioeconomic bracket.

The results of the study didn't surprise Ted Bruce, president of the Public Health Association of B.C., who said the correlation between health and income levels has been established.

The Tyee reported earlier this week on another UBC study that showed poorer children were more likely to have impaired neurological functioning.

And in November, the Canadian Institute of Health released a study examining the gaps in health and health care between Canadian from low, medium and high socioeconomic groups.

The Health Officers Council of Canada recently released a discussion paper on health inequities in British Columbia. It described a "B.C. paradox," where, despite having the highest overall health outcomes in Canada, the province also has the highest rates of poverty.

Specific policy recommendations included raising minimum wage, subsidizing childcare and providing financial support to students.

"The first thing that has to be done is the government needs to adopt a poverty reduction strategy, with targets and a dedicated minister," Bruce said.

"To close the gap between the rich and the poor is critical."

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus