Case Synopsis

The case is aimed at providing students with an overview of the burden of poverty in Canada and the effects of poverty on the health of Canadians. It exposes students to the various definitions of poverty, as well as its measures, including the Gini index, which is an internationally recognized measure of income distribution used to assess overall inequity. While it is challenging to define poverty and identify its multifactorial root causes, the link between poverty and ill-health is stronger. The case exposes students to existing federal, provincial and territorial policies and plans aimed at reducing poverty and supporting low income families. It asks the student to focus on the development and implementation of an innovative poverty reduction plan in British Columbia, one of the Canadian provinces without a provincial poverty reduction strategy.

Case Objectives

  1. Understand the various measures used to assess poverty.
  2. Tease out the links and pathways between poverty and health.
  3. Develop a poverty reduction strategy for British Columbia.

Case Study Questions

  1. 1. How is poverty assessed?
    a. What are the limitations of each method?
  2. What are the links between poverty and health?
    a. What are its direct and indirect effects?
    b. How does one impact the other and vice-versa?
  3. What key elements should a poverty reduction strategy for British Columbia contain?
  4. What are the essential elements for a knowledge translation strategy for the implementation of this poverty reduction strategy for British Columbia?


poverty - measurement, healthy public policy, knowledge translation, reduction strategy

Additional Author Information

Gracia Mabaya, BHSc, MSc, MPH

Val Morrison, BA, MA, Research Officer

Amardeep Thind, MD, PhD, Professor



Recommended Citation

Mabaya, G., Morrison, V., Thind, A. (2015). Reducing Poverty in Canada: Public Policies & Population Health in: Speechley, M., & Terry, A.L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2015. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.