Thousands of Nova Scotians can’t afford a basic, healthy diet and the numbers will only increase as global food prices continue to soar, experts warn.
“Many families working minimum wage or receiving income assistance simply can’t afford a nutritious diet,” said Lesley Frank, Participatory Food Costing project co-ordinator for the province.
The 2007 food costing report released yesterday reveals a segment of Nova Scotia’s population still struggles to afford basic, healthy foods.
Conducted last June, the study shows a family of four pays a monthly average of $648.33 for a basic nutritious diet, up 13 per cent since 2002.
Soaring food prices that have plagued countries such as Niger and China for the past two months have found their way to Canada.
Frank said she expects the food costing report for 2008 might show even more Nova Scotians are unable to afford a healthy diet.
The answer, she said, is to raise income-assistance rates and provide adequate supports for people, including subsidized child-care spaces and increased child tax credits.
Kristen Tynes with the Department of Community Services said income-assistance rates have increased in the past four years.
“Since 2002, the food prices have increased 13 per cent, and that’s exactly how much our allowance has gone up as well,” she said.
A working group is expected to present recommendations to the government in June.
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