Dianne Crosby’s degenerative spinal condition forced her to quit her job as a cook at Acadia University seven years ago. She relies on a monthly disability allowance and spends most days … [c]onfined largely to her tiny one-bedroom apartment [where] she’s now awaiting a third surgery. Each day she swallows a concoction of powerful anti-inflammatories and painkillers, including four Percocets a day, to manage the pain. She’s forced to make due with an $846 monthly social assistance allowance, of which $570 goes to rent.

She can’t make ends meet. Crosby’s a regular at the community food bank but by mid-month her cupboards are largely empty. Her doctor has been prescribing her one bottle of Boost — a meal replacement drink — daily in an attempt to improve her health, but the province stopped paying for it two months ago.

She has appealed to her caseworker but has been given no assurance that the province will pay for the added cost, even though the Department of Community Services lists Boost among 17 diet-related expenses it covers. So she goes without.