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Health Unit releases report on food insecurity

Huron Perth, ON – Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) has released a new report, The Real Cost of Eating in Huron and Perth.

The report found that in 2023, the cost of groceries for a family of four in Huron Perth was $267 per week, or $1,155 per month. This does not include non-food items such as toiletries, personal care items or cleaning products.

The report shows different income scenarios and the percentage of income a household would need to spend on food. For example, a family of four receiving Ontario Works in Huron Perth would need to spend 41% of their income on food to meet the recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide.

“Too many families living with low income have to choose between paying rent and utilities, or buying food, because there simply isn’t enough money,” says Amy MacDonald, Registered Dietitian at HPPH. “It’s extremely distressing for people when they can’t afford to buy enough food; they are also much more likely to have poorer health.”

The cost of groceries was determined by calculating the average retail price of 61 food items at eight local grocery stores. These food items meet national nutrition recommendations, and assume that people have the time, skill, and equipment needed to prepare them.

As food costs and costs of living continue to rise, more people are experiencing household food insecurity. An estimated 18% of households in southwestern Ontario reported experiencing food insecurity in 2022 (Household Food Insecurity Snapshot, Public Health Ontario, 2023).

Research shows that when food insecure households receive additional income, they spend it in ways that improve their food security.  The Real Cost of Eating report identifies that solutions need to be income-based. Solutions focus on local, provincial and federal possibilities and include:

  • Adequate old-age pensions
  • Fully funded Canada Working-Age Supplement (CWAS)
  • Fully funded Canada Disability Benefit (CDB)
  • Lower income taxes for the lowest income households
  • Income protection for precarious employment and low wages
  • Implementation of a Basic Income Guarantee
  • Increased minimum wage
  • Increased social assistance rates
  • Investments in subsidized, affordable and stable housing
  • Strategies to increase affordable housing, childcare and public transit
  • Living Wage employers

MacDonald encourages residents to talk to your local, provincial and federal representatives about how they are addressing income insecurity and food insecurity.

Visit or call 211 Ontario to learn about the resources available to help families living with low income so that they have more money available to purchase the food they need.

The Real Cost of Eating report is available on the HPPH website at https://www.hpph.ca/en/partners-and-professionals/reports-plans-and-statistics.aspx.

 

For more information:

Contact Us

Huron Perth Public Health

Huron Office
77722B London Road, RR #5, Clinton, ON
N0M 1L0

Perth Office
653 West Gore St., Stratford ON N5A 1L4
Toll-free 1-888-221-2133
askhpph@hpph.ca

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