(Text modified from Dietitians of Canada)
On December 15, 2009, Dietitians of Canada, BC Region and the Community Nutritionists Council of BC released the report The Cost of Eating in BC 2009: Low-income British Columbians can't afford healthy food. The report was endorsed by 23 organizations.
Dietitians publish this annual report to bring attention to the fact that not all British Columbians have enough money to buy healthy food. While shelter and food costs have risen significantly over the past decade, income assistance rates have remained virtually unchanged and minimum wage, once the highest in the country, has remained at $8.00/hour. For those receiving income assistance or earning minimum wage there simply is not enough money to pay for housing and food, let alone other necessities. Unemployment is up and more people are relying on assistance. There are too many living in poverty in BC and too many lined up at food banks. Dietitians are calling for the provincial government to take some additional action to address poverty in this province. Other provinces are taking action. Quebec and Ontario have anti-poverty legislation, while Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and New Brunswick all have poverty reduction plans. Common to them are significant changes to income assistance and increases to minimum wage.
It is well documented that income is closely tied to health. Low-income Canadians are more likely to report poor health and die earlier than Canadians with higher incomes. They spend less on food and eat fewer servings of vegetables, fruit and milk and are less likely to get the nutrients they need for good health.
To download a copy of this report, please visit Dietitians of Canada.
Thanks to Helen Yeung (Vancouver Coastal Health Community Nutritionist) for sending in this announcement.