Have you ever wondered what your life would be like living on social assistance? In 2022 a family of four living on Ontario Works had a fixed monthly income of $2,780. According to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, the cost of a Nutritious Food Basket for a family of four is $1,046.
Here’s the math behind the most basic bills:
- + $2,780 INCOME (from Ontario Works for a family of 4):
- – $1,308 RENT (average rent in Thunder Bay District)
- – $1,046 GROCERIES (cost of healthy food for a family of 4)
These limited remaining funds are expected to pay for all other basic needs like:
- heat, hydro, telephone
- medical costs
The situation for single households is even more dire. The total monthly income for a single person under social assistance (Ontario Works) was $844. After paying the market rate of $732 for a bachelor apartment, only $112 remained each month for food and other essentials, such as transportation, clothing, hydro and heat. The cost of a nutritious food basket per month was $265.56 for an average individual.
So what does all this mean?
People living on social assistance compromise what they eat so they can afford to live.
A nutritious diet is incredibly important for living a healthy life. People who eat lower amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and more salt, sugar, and fat are at a greater risk for diet-related illnesses. This is a reality that affects the thousands of people in the area—young children, adults, and seniors—living on social assistance.
Source: Thunder Bay District Health Unit. (2022). Hungry for Change in the Thunder Bay District. 19