08/27/2015 16:32 EDT | Updated 08/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Saskatoon Health Region says it fully supports poverty reduction report

SASKATOON — The Saskatoon Health Region says it fully supports a report by a group of experts that calls on the province to do more to help the poor.

The Saskatchewan Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction says the province should set a goal of cutting the poverty rate in half by 2020.

The group's report released Monday recommends the government give companies incentives to build affordable housing units and improve access to nutritious food in inner-city areas and remote communities.

It also says gaps in health and education between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people should be closed.

The health region says studies show that people who live in poverty suffer significantly more health problems.

Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer has said it could be difficult to find money for new programs due to lower oil revenues and wouldn't commit to the 50 per cent reduction in poverty over five years.

Dr. Cory Neudorf, the region's chief medical health officer, said comprehensive poverty reduction strategies paired with concrete goals and targets are effective and efficient.

"These work by addressing the root issues that cause poverty in our communities and improve the conditions that make us healthy such as our housing, employment, education and social supports as well as income," he said Thursday in a release.


The Canadian Press