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Increased grocery prices caused by COVID-19 could worsen food security locally

June 18, 2020   ·   0 Comments

As Ontarians lost their jobs due to the economic shutdown designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, food security has become a growing concern.

Food prices are also increasing because of COVID-19, which only fuels the fire of restricted food access for those with limited incomes.

Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 8 Simcoe Muskoka residents suffered from food insecurity, meaning they experienced the problem at least once in the past 12 months.

“We know there’s a significant portion of the population that has food insecurity, they cannot reliably be able to purchase the food that they need,” said Simcoe Muskoka’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner.

“The potential for this has certainly gone up with job loss that’s happened, with the restrictions, the public health measures that have been put in place.”

Dr. Gardner lauded the government’s work to provide financial support to people in need but stressed that the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is concerned about their ability to afford food as prices increase because of COVID-19.

“Our Board of Health supported a motion, a recommendation to the Prime Minister that a basic income be put in place for all Canadians. This is a position our Board of Health has taken in the past,” he noted.

“This is an idea where everyone would have at least a minimum income that’s guaranteed.”

As people make more money at their job, the basic income received each month would reduce and this way nobody would be left completely behind with an inadequate income, Dr. Gardner explained.

“There would be a reasonable income for everybody and therefore people would be able to afford food and other basic necessities of life,” he said.

A basic income pilot that was going to be tested on roughly 4,000 qualifying individuals was preparing for launch in Ontario, but it was terminated shortly after the Ford government was elected in June of 2018.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter



         


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