Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 36–40 | Cite as

The Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Households on Welfare in Toronto

  • Nicholas Vozoris
  • Barbara Davis
  • Valerie Tarasuk



This study assesses the affordability of a nutritious diet for households in Toronto that are supported by welfare.


For three hypothetical households, welfare incomes were compared to the monthly costs for food, shelter, and other essential expenditures in Toronto.


If households lived in market rental accommodation, average monthly incomes were insufficient to cover expenses for the single-person household and two-parent family, and barely adequate for the single-parent family considered in this study. However, the single-parent family’s actual income fell below expenses for six months of the year. For households with children, the relative inadequacy of welfare increased as children grew older. Living in rent-geared-to-income housing afforded substantial financial advantage, but the welfare income of single-person households was still insufficient to meet basic needs.


These findings indicate discrepancies between welfare incomes and costs of basic needs, which may explain the vulnerability of welfare recipients to food insecurity.



Notre étude porte sur l’abordabilité d’un régime alimentaire nutritif pour les ménages torontois vivant de l’aide sociale.


Nous avons comparé les revenus d’aide sociale de trois ménages hypothétiques aux coûts mensuels de l’alimentation, du logement et d’autres biens essentiels à Toronto.


Si ces ménages habitaient des logements locatifs non subventionnés, leurs revenus men-suels moyens étaient insuffisants pour couvrir les dépenses du ménage d’une personne et de la famille biparentale et couvraient tout juste les dépenses de la famille monoparentale (toutefois, six mois sur douze, le revenu réel de la famille monoparentale était inférieur à ses dépenses). Pour les ménages avec enfants, l’insuffisance relative de l’aide sociale augmentait avec l’âge des enfants. Le fait de payer un loyer proportionné au revenu procurait un avantage financier important, mais les prestations d’aide sociale du ménage d’une personne étaient encore insuffisantes pour répondre à ses besoins fondamentaux.


Ces résultats témoignent d’un écart entre les revenus de l’aide sociale et les coûts des besoins fondamentaux, ce qui expliquerait la propension des prestataires d’aide sociale à souf-frir d’insécurité alimentaire.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Vozoris
    • 1
  • Barbara Davis
    • 1
  • Valerie Tarasuk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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