One-third of workers in Ontario do not receive employer-provided benefits. Seniors and those receiving social assistance are eligible for some level of public coverage, however, low-income Ontarians who are employed, are falling through the cracks without any health coverage at all. Living with low income and experiencing a lack of resources can increase the risk for poor health. Low income is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, higher rates of diabetes complications, and poor mental health due to high rates of anxiety, stress, and depression. Good dental care, access to medication, and vision care are important parts of maintaining overall health and are particularly income sensitive.
This paper uses data from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics to identify who is more or less likely to have employer-provided health benefits. We found that:
• One-third of paid employees in Ontario do not have employer-provided medical or dental benefits.
• People with low earnings have lower levels of employer-provided health benefit coverage than those
with higher earnings, with fewer than one in five people earning less than $10,000 receiving benefits
through their employer compared with more than 90 percent of people earning over $100,000.
• Men have are more likely to have employer-provided benefits than women.
Improving access to health benefits would narrow the health gap between those with and those without employer-provided benefits, creating a healthier and more equitable Ontario.