N. Ontario communities spend more than half of income on food


A new report suggests people living in remote northern Ontario communities spend more than half their income on food to meet basic nutritional needs.

The report from Food Secure Canada looked at the cost of certain food items in three northern Ontario reserves — Moose Factory, Fort Albany and Attawapiskat.

It found on-reserve households in Fort Albany, Ont., must spend at least 50 per cent of their median monthly income to buy food for a basic nutritious diet. The report said a “reasonable assumption” suggests Attawapiskat and Moose Factory must do so as well.

The report also compares food prices in the northern communities to comparable purchases in southern Ontario.

It says the average cost of a food basket for a family of four for a month in the northern community of Attawapiskat in June 2015 was $1,909, compared to $847 in Toronto.

Food Secure Canada says that’s despite the fact that Attawapiskat is serviced by the federal government’s Nutrition North Canada program, intended to make healthy perishable food more affordable in northern communities.

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