Chronic and severe health conditions hit poor Ontarians at rates that are far higher than those of average Ontarians, according to new research released today. Diabetes, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and mood disorders are found at rates as much as 4.5 times higher among social assistance recipients than the non-poor, according to the study by the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto, the University of Toronto's Social Assistance in the New Economy Project, and the Wellesley Institute.
The study, entitled, Sick and Tired: The Compromised Health of Social Assistance Recipients and the Working Poor in Ontario, examined health and income data from across the province and found that people on social assistance had worse health on 38 of 39 indicators when compared with the non-poor. Perhaps most distressing, the study found that one in ten social assistance recipients considered suicide in the 12-month period preceding the study. Suicide attempts were 10 times higher for social assistance recipients compared to the non-poor.