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Income as a determinant of health is finally becoming a mainstream issue being addressed by health promotion. I am happy that Barbara has given some thoughts on this topic since a single mom with 2 children would have to make $12.45 per hour to meet the 2003 Low Income Measure (before taxes) of $24,905. This is based on a 40 hour week for 50 weeks a year with no paid holidays (which is a reality for most low income workers - even though there is vacation pay when you make low wages that extra 2 weeks of income makes a world of difference).
$10.00 an hour for minimum wage is the lowest acceptable and reasonable wage that should be earned by all people in the workforce. I have heard for too long that the "economic spin-off will trickle down to all people in society" - it seems to truly be a river at the top and merely a drop at the bottom.
I think these same individuals need to see that if you give a little more at the wage earner end there will be greater economic spin offs to everyone. There will be more income available for purchases other than the basics and business will still survive having to pay an extra (roughly) $2.00/hour- about $80.00 per week per person employed at present minimum wage. With employee discounts (that people always use), most of that extra cash would have a great chance of ending up in the till anyway.
I hope public opinion continues to grow regarding this issue as poverty is a basic determinant of health that needs to be addressed now.
Yours in health,
Veli-Martti Rautio HBK, CK, MPH
Healthy Pregnancy and Child Development
Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit
179 North Park Street
Belleville, ON K8P 4P1
Tel: (613) 966-5513 ext 228
Fax: (613) 966-9418
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