The cost of feeding your family has gone up 11 percent in Northwestern Ontario in the past year.
Every year, the Northwestern Health Unit surveys grocery stores in our region to determine the cost of healthy food.
That cost continues to increase.
“The cost of feeding a family of four is $916.53 per month, making the right to food impossible for some families,” said Jennifer Maki, public health nutritionist with the health unit.
“As the cost of living continues to rise in the Kenora-Rainy River districts, families are finding it harder to make ends meet,” Maki noted.
“While food does cost more in our region, the real problem is that people don’t have enough income available for food and other basic living expenses,” she warned.
“Incomes are not increasing at the same pace as the costs of living.”
Since 1998, social assistance rates have increased only five percent. The minimum wage rate, even with recent increases, remains inadequate.
“After fixed living costs such as housing, child care, hydro, and gasoline are paid, families cannot afford basic healthy food to support health,” Maki argued.
Every person needs—and has a right to—regular access to enough healthy and culturally-acceptable food for an active, healthy life.
“We need to ensure that adequate food is available for all community members every day,” Maki stressed.
The Northwestern Health Unit uses the annual survey results to advocate for better income levels, access to affordable housing and quality child care, and to make healthy foods accessible to all.
What can you do to help?
•Get in the know—about the issues and where people can get help.
Visit your local Northwestern Health Unit for a list of community food programs, voucher programs, and information about eating well on a tight budget.
•Take action—to reduce the effects of poverty.
Support the creation of a living wage, affordable housing, and quality childcare.
•Donate food, money, or your time—to programs that increase access to food like school meal and snack programs, community kitchens, community gardens, food banks, and food boxes.
•Get involved in your community—People who do not have enough food to eat are single or married, young or old, working or unemployed, educated or not educated, and come from all walks of life. We can all help to ensure our community’s needs are met.
For more information contact your local Northwestern Health Unit office or visit www.nwhu.on.ca