Worrying about having to choose between paying rent and bills or putting food on the table is something many people in our area face every day. Current data puts that number at 1 in 8 households. We can do something to change that.
Food insecurity is when people and families don’t have access or enough money to buy the healthy foods they need and like. Adults who are food insecure are more likely to suffer chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. 1 in 6 children are growing up in food insecure households, which makes them more likely to experience mental health concerns and as teenagers they are at greater risk of depression, social anxiety and suicide. Children and teenagers are also more likely to struggle in school. As well, being food insecure is linked to higher usage of healthcare services.
What we have been doing to reduce food security isn’t working. Supporting food banks fails to address the root cause of food insecurity: poverty. Increases in minimum wage and the amount of affordable housing are unlikely to improve food insecurity unless there is enough money left over for food after paying rent and bills.
A better solution to reducing food insecurity is a basic income. A basic income isa payment to eligible couples and individuals that will ensure a minimum income level regardless of employment status. The Ontario Basic Income Pilot study will determine if a basic income could reduce poverty in a sustainable way. This three-year study is underway in three communities across Ontario and must continue regardless of which party is in leadership to see the full effect.
The Porcupine Health Unit is asking for your help to support the “No Money for Food is … Cent$less” Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to make poverty reduction a priority for the June 2018 provincial election.Go to to submit an e-letter to the candidates advocating for fair income solutions to address food insecurity.