Nearly one in 10 Niagara families are worried about their ability to put enough healthy food on the table, a new report from the Region’s public health department says.

And while Niagara families struggling to make ends meet are finding it increasingly difficult to put healthy food on the table, that’s especially true for people scraping by on social assistance or living on the minimum wage, figures in the Feb. 18 report show.

The new statistics show the cost for a family of two Niagara parents and two children to have adequate, healthy food increased about 12 per cent from 2009 to 2013, to $190.15 a week. That’s about $3 more than the provincial average

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is guilty, as charged, of not living up to her pledge to make social justice her top priority, say anti-poverty activists who staged a mock trial in Regent Park Wednesday.

The main evidence presented to the gathering of about 200 people from across the province was Wynne’s refusal to raise social assistance rates so people can afford to both eat and pay rent. They are demanding a $100-a-month rate hike as a down payment.

A single person on Ontario Works is eligible to receive up to $626 a month.

Anti-poverty activists are putting Premier Kathleen Wynne on trial for not living up to her pledge to make social justice her top priority.

Wynne made the commitment in an interview with the Toronto Star during her Liberal leadership campaign a year ago.

But members of the Put Food in the Budget campaign, which has been calling on the government to raise welfare rates so people can afford both rent and food, say Ontario’s poorest residents aren’t feeling the love.

More than 1.7 million Ontarians live in poverty and 375,000 people use food banks every month, the group notes.

Food insecurity — lack of access to sufficient, healthy food — is either not getting any better or is getting worse in all parts of Canada, according to a new report.

Valerie Tarasuk’s research suggests no government in Canada is taking on the problem of food insecurity. (CBC)

The study — which looks at the number of Canadians who don’t have access to sufficient food for a full, healthy diet — used data from Statistics Canada’s 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey, which included a household food security survey module.

Tarasuk’s report suggests four million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, experienced some level of food insecurity. That represents about 13 per cent of households.

There is a good reason why the minimum wage has fired up so much debate lately. It has to do with how a “trickle-away” recovery has dogged so many advanced economies since the 2008 global crisis hit.

For most people today, growth is happening somewhere else, for someone else. The result is a crescendo of frustration.

Within the wage share of the economy – which includes everyone from chief executive officers to servers – only the average top-1-per-cent earner saw enough income growth to outpace inflation between 2009 and 2011. (Statistics Canada hasn’t yet published 2012 data for top earners.) The further down the income ladder you go, the smaller the income increase.

If the consumer price index included only necessities — food, shelter, clothing and energy — inflation would be running at 1.7 per cent, not the modest 1.2 per cent reported by Statistics Canada.

Ontario’s cost of living would be rising by 2.1 per cent, not the official rate of 1.5 per cent.

This matters to millions of Ontarians — workers with COLA clauses, pensioners, tenants, students, recipients of drug benefits, employment insurance, disability support and social assistance. As of June 1, it will matter to the 535,000 people earning Ontario’s minimum wage.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced last week that her government would boost the province’s minimum wage to $11 an hour this year and peg it to the rate of inflation thereafter.

But Wynne’s decision to boost Ontario’s lowest wage by a modest 75 cents an hour — and link future increases to the consumer price index (CPI) — is disappointing.