In the Waspy Toronto the Good I grew up in, everyone was proud to look down their noses at the nation to our south and proclaim, “we do not have the division between haves and have-nots that they have down there.”

Every September since 1999, Toronto’s public health department reminds the city that this old smugness, and the reality it spoke to, have largely disappeared.

The department issues a report identifying the cost of a frugal basket of nutritious food for a family of four, and assesses what that means for people on low incomes.

This year’s report, which will be presented to the Board of Health on September 30, says the weekly cost of such a basket is $198.34, up 1.4 per cent from last year and up 20.1 per cent since 2009.