Poverty and Health

A new health unit to serve our communities better – We are working to update the information on this page to reflect our new organization as Southwestern Public Health. Currently this information reflects Elgin St. Thomas area only. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For information about Oxford County area programs and services, please call 1-800-922-0096.

Basic Income Guarantee

Basic income guarantee (BIG), also known as a guaranteed annual income, is a cash transfer from government to citizens that ensures income at a level sufficient to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status (Basic Income Canada Network, 2015). Basic income is premised on the vision of universal income security through ensuring that everyone receives a modest, but adequate income (Pasma and Mulvale, 2009).

For more information:

Best Advice Guide on Social Determinants of Health

 This is guide about the role family doctors can play in improving patients’ social determinants of health, which are the social and economic conditions into which a person is born, lives or works that can influence their overall health.

Canada Benefits Website

The Canada Benefits website provides patients one convenient place to be informed if they are eligible for federal, provincial and territorial benefit programs and services that they may be entitled to.

Income Security Advocacy Centre

This website provides information about income security and poverty-related issues from local, provincial, national, and international perspectives, as well as links to social policy reports, interesting events, and other related materials.

Living Wage

A living wage is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the legal minimum all employers must pay. The living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income and deductions have been subtracted. The evidence based calculation of a living wage for St. Thomas and Elgin has been calculated to be $16.47.

MP (Member of Parliament) for Elgin-Middlesex-London- Karen Vecchio

The MP’s local office can provide assistance to individuals concerning various federal government issues such as income tax returns, Canada Pension Plans, Old Age Security, Child tax reviews, Citizenship and Immigration, Veteran’s Affairs, Transport Canada and passport reviews.

  • Office
    • 203-750 Talbot Street, St. Thomas, ON N5P 1E2
    • Phone– 519-637-2255

MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament)- Jeff Yurek

Jeff Yurek’s office is able to provide patient assistance with dealing with all provincial agencies and various ministries and other levels of provincial government agencies in Elgin-Middlesex-London.   They can help with birth certificates, driver’s license health cards and ODSP applications, etc.

  • Office:
    • 750 Talbot Street, Suite 201St. Thomas, Ontario N5P 1E2
    • Phone: 519-631-0666 or toll free 1-800-265-7638

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

ODSP is income support for people in financial need who have permanent disabilities or disabilities expected to last longer than one year.  Health benefits like drug coverage and vision care are also provided. Employment supports are available to assist eligible people with disabilities prepare for, get and keep a job.

The application process can occur either online, by phone or in person.

Ontario Works

Ontario Works is a provincial program that provides financial and employment help to people in financial need.  Special allowances/health benefits may also be available as a supplement to monthly allowance including Child care subsidy and family support programs. Ages 16 and older.

Poverty: A Clinical Tool for Primary Care

This tool directs primary care providers to use key questions to assess patient’s living situations and current benefits and includes links to government and community resources.

For more information contact