By ANTONELLA ARTUSO,
Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Ontario anti-poverty activists are pushing the provincial government to invest in a $100-a-month healthy food supplement for social assistance recipients.
At a “Put Food in the Budget” rally Thursday in front of the Queen’s Park building that houses the finance ministry, dozens of activists called for the measure to be included in the upcoming spring budget.
Anglican Bishop Linda Nicholls, speaking on behalf of 80 parishes representing over 30,000 Anglicans, said the deficit-plagued government doesn’t have to necessarily spend more but rather should adjust its priorities to ensure the poor have enough to eat.
An estimated 400,000 Ontarians rely on food banks, both those who are on social assistance and the working poor.
Nicholls said she was one of many prominent Ontarians who attempted to live on the “poverty diet” provided by food banks.
“I was shocked at how quickly within a day or two you began to feel not well. No fresh fruit. No fresh vegetables,” Nicholls said.
Tracy Mead, a social assistance recipient and member of the South Riverdale Health and Strength Action Group in Toronto, said the support payments don’t go far enough to buy fresh food.
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