Language as an Important Determinant of Poverty in the Aging Francophone Minority Population in Canada

By Louise Bouchard, Golnaz Sedigh, Malek Batal, Pascal Imbeault, Ewa Makvandi and Erika Silva de la Vega.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

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Six cycles of the Canadian Community Health surveys (CCHS) from 2001 to 2009 were used to compare the income and health of the minority French-speaking aging population (over 65 years of age) to the majority English-speaking group in Canada, excluding Quebec. A sequential multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that men and women of the minority French-speaking population of this age group, living in Canada outside the province of Quebec, are more likely to be in the poorest income quintile than their English-speaking counterparts. This disparity remains significant even after controlling for residence (province and urban/rural), household makeup (living alone or not), immigration status, education, employment, health status, chronic diseases, and restrictions in activities. Independently of other key socio-demographic factors modulating health, our results also show that being in the poorest income quintile is associated with a poor self-perceived health, a finding that was more prevalent in the French-speaking aging population living in situation of minority.

Keywords: Minority Francophone Population, Aging, Low Income, Poverty, Health, Canada

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.61-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 417.442KB).

Prof. Louise Bouchard

Full Professor, Cross appointment in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Population Health Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Louise Bouchard is a specialist in the sociology of health. She currently teaches at the Department of Sociology and at the Institute of Population Health PhD Program, to which she brings her expertise in the evolution of paradigms in health and their impact on health systems, health policy, and professional and community dynamics. Her research interests include social dynamics and medical innovations (reproductive technology, genetic testing, and the impact of social, ethical and organizational factors). She is also interested in population health, particularly in the study of social determinants of health. As the recipient of a grant to develop research capacity (CIHR 2006 - 2011), she co-directs the RISF, an interdisciplinary research network on the state of health in situations of linguistic minority, which is currently developing a research program in the study of socio-environmental, cultural and structural factors that influence health disparities.

Golnaz Sedigh

PhD student, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Golnaz Sedigh is a PhD candidate in economics at the University of Ottawa. She works on the economic reasons of sleeping time, insomnia and work stress in her PhD thesis. She currently works at the Réseau de recherche appliquée sur la santé des francophones de l’Ontario (RRASFO). She has worked with the Canadian Census, the General Social Survey, the Canadian Community Health Survey, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, and the Statistics Canada General Business Panel Survey database. She is pursuing graduate studies in economics with special interests in health economics, labor economics, applied econometrics, industrial organization (R&D), environment and natural resources, and international economics.

Malek Batal

Associate professor, Nutrition Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Malek Batal is a professor of community nutrition at the Honours Baccalaureate in Nutrition Sciences Program at the Faculty of Health Sciences. He currently holds funding from the International Development Research Centre, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Consortium national de formation en santé, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. His research focuses on the social, cultural, economic and environmental determinants of nutrition, and their relation with the health of humans and ecosystems, with emphasis on vulnerable groups. He manages research programs and studies the risks and benefits of land-based food strategies. The research model is being applied in northern Ontario communities, is expanding into other rural parts of Canada and around the world, including the Middle East.

Pascal Imbeault

Associate Professor, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The long-term objective of Dr. Pascal Imbeault’s research program is to understand the regulation of human adipose tissue growth and secretory function using an integrative approach from the molecular and cellular levels to the whole individuals. His research interests focus on the impact of different stimuli (i.e., caloric restriction, exercise, food supplements, environmental pollutants, etc.) on adipose tissue metabolism. This field of research will hopefully elucidate our understanding of adipose tissue’s functions in the whole body in the hope of improving obesity and its related metabolic disorders.

Ewa Makvandi

PhD student, Department of mathematics and statistics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ewa Makvandi obtained her M.Sc. in biostatistics and is currently working toward her Ph.D in mathematics at the University of Ottawa. She is a recipient of the University of Ottawa admission scholarship. Her research focus on improving existing statistical methods related to estimation of survival function in prevalent and incident populations. She currently holds a biostatistician position at the Réseau de recherche appliquée sur la santé des francophones de l’Ontario (RRASFO), where for past two years she has worked on secondary analyses of different waves of the CCHS surveys exploring health related issues of the francophone minority populations in Canada.

Erika Silva de la Vega

health system researcher and analyst, Consultant

MD at the Universidad Mayor de San Andres, la Paz Bolivia. PhD in Sciences at the University of Western Ontario,London, On. Canada and a MSc in Public Health and Epidemiology at The Universidad Misael Saracho and the Escuela de Salud Publica de la Havana. Cuba Postdoctoral studies at Yale University. CT. USA More than 15 years experience in conducting public health research and evaluating, designing, planning and management of complex health programs and projects for international donor organization such as CIDA, USAID, CAF, WHO/PAHO, UNICEF, COHRED and University of Ottawa.