Launching the PFIB Campaign to promote a Healthy Food Supplement

Early in 2009, the Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO) in partnership with the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) and The Stop Community Food Centre initiated the Put Food in the Budget (PFIB) campaign. PFIB has called on the Ontario Government to introduce a $100 per month Healthy Food Supplement for adults living on social assistance in Ontario.

From its launch on February 19 until the provincial budget came down on March 26, the PFIB campaign received the support of more than 1200 people who signed its on-line petition and web-postings from 78 individuals, including 18 video-clips about what difference a $100 a month would make to a low income person’s food budget.

In the six short weeks of the PFIB campaign in February-March, public health departments and community agencies in more than eleven communities across the province conducted public events in support of the Healthy Food Supplement.

Second Stage of the PFIB Campaign: Do the Math

On April 27, 2009 about 40 community activists from Toronto and ten other communities across Ontario came together for a strategy meeting to plan the next step of the campaign to Put Food in the Budget.

The participants decided to use the “Do the Math” survey, an excellent on-line tool developed by The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto.

The Do the Math survey asks respondents to specify the monthly costs of the basic necessities of life for a person on a low income. After a survey respondent indicates the costs for a range of choices, the tool calculates the resulting total monthly cost and compares it with the monthly incomes of adults receiving social assistance in Ontario and for full-time workers earning the minimum wage.

The SPNO is working with local leadership teams across Ontario to help them take Do the Math to groups in their communities and to invite their MPPs to Do the Math as well between now and Thanksgiving (October 12).

SPNO will report out on the results of the Do the Math outreach regularly and plans to do a consolidated report on MPPs’ experiences with Do the Math by October 16, World Food Day and October 17, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

We encourage you to Do the Math for yourself at and to send us your conclusions or comments below. See the Organizer’s Action Guidelines for Do the Math for assistance. If you are part of a group that wishes to Do the Math with other groups in your local community or your local MPP, contact and we will see how we can help.

Updated June 25, 2009

PFIB now has its own website