Public health experts in Ontario are alarmed by the provincial government’s decision to opt out of an annual survey that measures the number of households struggling to get enough to eat.

The decision comes as a disappointment to public health workers in the province, who found out about it in May.

“From what we can figure out, people in public health were absolutely blindsided by this. People didn’t know they had opted out. We didn’t know until we gained access to the data and then realized that Ontario wasn’t there,” said Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, a nutritional sciences professor at the University of Toronto and lead researcher at PROOF, a research team investigating household food insecurity in Canada.