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Food and Nutrition

Poverty & Families

Examples of poverty’s effect on families in Simcoe-Muskoka

  • A family of four on Ontario Works (two parents, 8-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy) would need to use 94% of their income for food and rent alone.That would leave them $119.93 per person per week for all their other basic needs, including the cost of telephone, transportation, clothing and personal care items.
  • A middle-income family of four would only need to spend 29% of their after fax income for food and rent combined.
  • Although employment is often assumed to be the solution to household poverty, having a job does not necessarily mean that rent, food needs and other basics can be met.
  • A family of four with one person working full time at the minimum wage rate of $10.25 per hour (May 2015) would need to spend 72% of their family income for food and apartment rent alone.

In these situations money originally set aside for food is often considered “flexible” and can easily end up being spent on important basics such as phone bills, bus fares, winter boots, medicines, and other necessities.

It is also troubling that the cost of the Nutritious Food Basket has gone up a lot over the last five years: The cost for a family of four is $170.86 more per month in May 2015 than in May 2010. That works out to $2,050.00 more per year than five years ago, although Ontario’s minimum wage remained the same between then the end of May 2015.

View our Cost of Healthy Eating info graphic (PDF) that brings the Nutritious Food Basket Survey data to life. 

Nutritious Food Basket

Household Food Insecurity

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