Going hungry in Ontarios Garden

People struggling to make ends meet in “Ontario’s Garden” are experiencing hunger or the fear of being hungry.One in nine households — or 11 per cent — in Norfolk and neighbouring Haldimand County are dealing with some type of food insecurity.Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, the Medical Officer of Health for Haldimand-Norfolk, presented an update to the health and social services advisory committee on Thursday concerning food insecurity in the counties.“In some ways that’s striking,” Nesathurai said regarding the 11 per cent figure. “We think of food insecurity in other parts of the world, but in food rich counties it’s striking.”Norfolk has the name “Ontario’s Garden” due to the large number of produce grown in the county.Food insecurity is defined as inadequate access to food due to financial restraints.Emily Kichler, a registered dietitian at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, discussed the results of the Nutritious Food Basket tool with the committee.The NFB is a standardized survey to calculate the average cost of healthy groceries per month in areas across Ontario. The health unit used this tool to estimate that in May 2018 the average cost of groceries for a family of four in the area is $857.17.  This number is $47 more per month than the findings five years earlier. The preliminary 2019 results show an additional increase of $55 a month over the 2018 numbers.“It’s important to note that the rising cost of food is not the main issue here, rather it’s the inadequacy of income, which we know is the most important predictor of food insecurity,” said Kichler.To put the cost into perspective, Kichler provided a table of figures showing earner types, monthly income, rent, groceries, and how much money would be left over.A family of four earning the median Ontario income of $7,871, would spend $878 on rent, $857.17 on groceries, and would have $6,135.83 left over for other things such as bills, and clothes.A single person on Ontario Works, however, would bring in $810 a month, spending $585 on rent, $287.91 on food, and going into a debt of $62.91 before having to worry about any other bills. Meanwhile, a family of four on Ontario Works spends 67 per cent of their funds on housing and food.  The remaining $847 per month is for all other necessities, said the report.The report was accepted as information and will be forwarded to the Norfolk Board of Health.astaylor@postmedia.com read more

Dean of Math and Science appointed to another term

Syed Ejaz Ahmed has been named to a second five-tear term as Brock University’s Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science.The announcement, made by Brock’s Acting President Brian Hutchings, comes after a committee consisting of faculty, staff and students reviewed survey results, interviewed Ahmed and made the recommendation to re-appoint.Ahmed’s first five-year term as Dean will end this Dec 31., after which he will take a one-year administrative leave, then on Jan. 1, 2018 will commence a second term as Dean that runs through December 2023.“I am humbled and honoured to lead this wonderful Faculty for another term,” said Ahmed after the announcement. “I greatly enjoyed working with students, staff and faculty members both scientifically and socially and look forward to working with them again.”Greg Finn, the University’s Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic, said Ahmed promotes and supports a culture of research and teaching within the Faculty.“Dean Ahmed has shown excellent leadership during his first term as Dean of Mathematics and Science,” said Finn. “He has led by example, balancing heavy administrative responsibilities and maintaining an active research program.”Admed’s area of expertise includes statistical inference, big data analysis and statistical consulting. Prior to joining Brock in 2012, Ahmed, who is also a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was at the University of Windsor where he headed the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. read more