Upstream Approaches to Canadian Population Health
The reduction of both health and social inequalities has always beena continuous concern of most democratic societies for many years.Nevertheless, the idea that the inequalities still remain is a clearevidence that the programs and efforts to reduce the inequalitieshave not been effective. Therefore, social actors and decision makersare advised to note some of the strategies and programs that havesucceeded in reducing the inequalities and to put more emphasis onsuch programs so as to attain better efficacy and effectiveness(Dorsett, 2014). There are many current mediations in Canada whichare meant to reduce medical disparities. The interventions includeSelf-Sufficiency Project (SSP), Subsidies for healthcare, Talentimprovement for kids, Monitoring diet during pregnancy, BornEqual-Growing Healthy, and Antismoking campaign. This paper willdiscuss Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) and how the intervention isinvolved in reducing health inequalities in Canada.
Self-Sufficiency is an intervention program whose aim is to reducethe number of families and households that rely on welfare. Further,the program gives income enhancements to parents who are capable ofworking full time but earn a low income. The program was designed toenable such parents to get out of welfare programs, thus making themself-sufficient. It achieves this by giving financial aid in form ofwage supplements, if the parents are working full time and willing toget out of the welfare programs. To settle on the earning supplementto give to the parents, the officials in charge of the program usethe “earnings benchmark” calculation method. Furthermore, theyuse data from the surrounding community and the actual earnings ofthe participants. It is clear that the SSP program intends to reducethe inequity of income distribution. Here, people are able andwilling to work but they cannot find full-time jobs (Riddell &Riddell, 2014). As a result of the low income they get, most of themseek the assistance of welfare organizations in order to get a boostin the income they earn. In addition, due to lack of enoughresources, such people are not able to get proper healthcarefacilities, hence, health-inequality. Getting such people out ofassistance organizations and providing them with supplement income isa major step towards making them self-sufficient.
To proceed, the SSP scheme is a study demonstration project under themanagement of the Social and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) andmanaged together thru Statistics Canada. Moreover, the programreceives its funds from the Human Resources Development in Canada. Asalready mentioned, the program was intended to evaluate theefficiency of wage supplements to parents who receive incomeassistance and secured full-time jobs. In addition, the parentsagreed to abandon income assistance programs. As a method of programevaluation, wage supplements were given to participants for a periodof not more than three years. The program was conducted in theBritish Columbia and New Brunswick. According to the program, anyindividual who was willing to work on a full-time basis could receivea wage supplement for a period of three years. In addition, the wagesupplement would be equivalent to half of the difference between anannual amount and their salary (Zabel, Schwartz, & Donald, 2013).However, statistics showed that the program led to an increment ofincome tax returns as well as reducing welfare payments to thegovernment.
Further, the program designers could select a random sample from theparticipants each month for evaluation. Nevertheless, the lawprohibits Statistics Canada from releasing any data that may lead tothe identification of any individual, organization, or business,unless permitted by the respondent. After 72 months, the RegionalOperations Division conducted a follow-up of the participants by useof the Computer-Aided telephone interviewing (CATI).
After research and evaluation, the effectiveness of the program wasestablished based on the mental health of the participants, and theirpoverty levels. The results showed that despite the fact that most ofthe participants’ jobs paid minimum salaries, 42 percent of theparticipants who worked full time experienced a monthly wageincrement by 121 dollars. The ratio was obtained through comparingthem to the 27 percent of the participants in the control group.Additionally, the number of individuals that were below theminimum-income edge was about 10 percent higher in the control groupas compared to the experimental group (Riddel et al, 2014). On theother hand, older school kids showed a positive change in terms ofcognitive functioning. However, they did not show any change in termsof health or social conduct. Further, the evaluation reportdiscovered that kids between the ages of 3 and 5 years improved theirperformance during the intervention period. Additionally, the resultsshowed that kids between 4 and 9 years showed a positive socialconduct when compared to the kids that were in the control program(Zabel et al, 2013). Lastly, the parents showed a 19 percent decreasein mental problems, implying that treating depression is moreexpensive than wage supplements.
In conclusion, results from the evaluation of the program indicatethat it was successful. Therefore, medical practitioners in theUnited States should include some aspects of the intervention programas recommended by the report from the program. Since the reportshowed a positive change in the social behavior of some of the kidsas well as improved mental health of the parents, then medicalpractitioners in the United States should include features such aswage supplements in their intervention programs.
Dorsett, R. (2014). The effect of temporary in-work support onemployment retention: evidence from a field experiment. Laboureconomics, 31, 61-71.
Riddell,C., & Riddell, W. C. (2014). The pitfalls of work requirements inwelfare-to-work policies: Experimental evidence on human capitalaccumulation in the Self-Sufficiency Project. Journal of PublicEconomics, 117, 39-49.
Zabel,J., Schwartz, S., & Donald, S. (2013). An analysis of the impactof the self-sufficiency project on wages. Empirical Economics,1-29.
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