featured Poverty

Kendall Worth: Poverty and staying healthy and fit

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Well, the free bus passes are coming, as I talked about in my last story. But the free bus pass is only going to meet one need, just like we also need a phone for job searches and safety, we also need to stay healthy and fit.

Yes, there are lots of walking trails in HRM and during the summer months there are places where you can swim outdoors free of charge.   But what about the rest of the year?

Photo Sackville Sports Stadium

 Here is my solution.

Here in HRM we do have lots of great fitness facilities and fitness clubs that provide all kinds of services to improve health and well being. Most of these health clubs offer a main workout area  with dumbbells and barbells, treadmills, stationary bikes and so on. Then at some of the larger fitness facilities there are indoor swimming pools, ice rinks and indoor walking tracks.

Anyway, the point I am trying to get at here is, what a great way to improve health and social well being, if only these places were affordable for income assistance recipients.

From talking to people who have memberships to these places I learned that costs range anywhere from $30 a month to $100 a month, depending on what club because different places have different packages.

I have often written about the social isolation that people on income assistance experience. Wouldn’t it be great if Community Services were to support people on income assistance who want to exercise?  It would be a great way to get people out of social isolation, and allow them to live a healthy life!  


If you can, please support the Nova Scotia Advocate so that it can continue to cover issues such as poverty, racism, exclusion, workers’ rights and the environment in Nova Scotia. A paywall is not an option, since it would exclude many readers who don’t have any disposable income at all. We rely entirely on one-time donations and a tiny but mighty group of dedicated monthly sustainers.

Subscribe to the Nova Scotia Advocate weekly digest and never miss an article again.




  1. Down outside the city in hrm we gst o travel at all. We should be gettinv a pass for the musgo rider.
    We do in sheet harbour have a fitness center that only certain people xan take advantage of. I know we couldnt afford it. Not even if we didnt have to pay our own power. People on oncome assistance are blamed for not being in good shape and they give themselves illnesses. Anything to get them or the hov out of anything.

  2. When I worked memberships at the dartmouth sportsplex we did work out whatever rates we could for those unable to afford the regular fees. We also got funding through the government “Thrive” initiative to provide memberships costing $5-15/month provided it was used a minimum number of times per month. It was a great program and helped so many people, and as far as I know Max is planning to bring the program back when the building reopens!

  3. The YMCA used to (and probably still does?) have memberships pro-rated to income, but unfortunately at the moment there is no Y open in downtown Halifax.

Comments are closed.