Exploring Poverty Reduction Game Changers with VC Canada Members: Health

Submitted by Tamarack on October 19, 2016 - 6:20am
#5 in the VC Game Changer Series

We Are Looking for Your Ideas 

Help make this innovative approach work! Ideas and suggestions from Cities Reducing Poverty members and broader learners of the Vibrant Communities Canada network are critical to developing a solid foundation in which to identify key levers that have large impacts on poverty reduction. 

Once you have read about the framework and reviewed some of the Game Changers we have drafted, participate in the process by filling in the short survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZYSR2RP.

Defining a 'Game Changer'

The poverty reduction Game Changer series highlights eight priority areas and strategies, as identified by Vibrant Communities Canada and our Cities Reducing Poverty members, that elicit an array of positive, significant, and cascading outcomes towards reducing poverty.


#5 in the Game Changer Series: Health

This Game Changer encompasses affordable and accessible health care services that are not covered under provincial/territorial medical plans, and comprehensive, inclusive supports for physical andmental health.

The primary factors that shape the health of Canadians are not medical treatments or lifestyle choices but rather the social, economic and environmental living conditions they experience. These conditions impact an individual’s opportunity to make healthy choices. Consequently, education and the traditional health system are not enough to overcome pervasive health inequities. While Canada’s universal health program provides basic coverage to all citizens, there is a range of services, such asdental care, medication, eye care, mental health and physiotherapy, that are not covered under provincial plans. This leaves users to pay fees out-of-pocket. Improving affordability and accessibility of such health services, and focusing on preventative, high impact health policies, can address inequalities, improve quality of life, enhance participation, and reduce financial burden on our health care system.

Recommendations for Best Practices and Policies


  • Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) – Provides temporary healthcare benefits to refugees and protected persons who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance.


  • Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’sMental Health and Addiction Strategy –Improves mental health and well-being, identifies and intervenes on mental health and addictions problems, and provides timely, integrated response.
  • Accessibility 2024 – Ten year action plan focused on making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by 2024.


  • Killarney Health Centre– Rural health centre providing primary health services using distance communications such as examinations via video connection.
  • Carnegie Community Centre's Street and Homeless Outreach – Assists vulnerable people who are unlikely to access traditional services, including by connecting them to social,health, and housing services, and by providing emergency first aid, emotional support, and harm reduction supplies.


  • The Alex Mobile Health Program – Operates three mobile clinic busses (community health, youthhealth, and dental health) that remove barriers to health care by providing services, education,and advocacy free of charge to Calgary residents experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Share this Game Changer with your network by downloading it as a PDF here.

Learn More

  • Access Mark Holmgren's presentation slides on the Game Changer Approach to Poverty Reduction
  • Find an Overview of the eight game-changing best practices and policies we are exploring in the poverty reduction network

game_changer_-_health.pdf201.25 KB