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Nouveau poor

Date published : March 1, 2010 - Montreal, Quebec

Suddenly and without warning, Yves lost his well-paying job – and joined the ranks of Canada's new poor.
 
Rosemont-Petite Patrie: an overview

Rosemont-Petite Patrie is third largest of Montreal’s 19 wards – or arrondissements – and it has the third highest population density. A higher than average number of residents are between 20 and 34, while children are present in lower than average numbers. One in five residents is a landed immigrant.

•    Population : 133,618
•    Montreal’s population : 1,620,693
•    The ward is home to 7.2 % of Montrealers.
•    The majority of residents in the area are renters, and three quarters of all households are rented.
•    The main employers in the neighbourhood are the health and social services sectors, and retail sales.
•    Public transport and bicycles are the preferred means of transport in the ward, with Rosemont-Petite ranking second among all city wards for bicycle use.
•    The average annual income for people 15 and over   – combining both full-time workers (52%) and part-time (48%) – is $28,831.
•    The current unemployment rate in the neighbourhood is about 8.4%
•    About 37% of household spend 30% or more of their pre-tax income on housing.

Among residents who are 15 and over:

•    21.6 %do not have a diploma, certificate or degree.
•    18.8 % possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
•    16.8 % have a college or other non-university diploma.
•     25.6% have university degrees.

Rosemont: a  food desert

Marie-Eve and Maria, featured in episode one, are working in the eastern part of Rosemont, a district encompassing  several  food deserts – areas where residents are forced to either walk over 500 metres, or drive 3 kilometres, in order to find affordable fresh produce.

Rosemont is far from unique in this regard. Easy access to fresh food has become a problem in a growing number of urban areas across Canada.

Jason Gilliland, associate professor in Geography at the University of Western Ontario, recently identified a number of “grocery wastelands” in parts of London, Ontario – neighbourhoods that were once well served by grocers and supermarkets.

He attributes these urban food deserts in part to suburbanization. Over the last forty years, as middle-income families have left the inner city for the suburbs, supermarkets have followed them, leaving people in some older neighbourhoods without access to good affordable food.

The trend is exacerbated in low-income districts, says Gilliland, where people are increasingly reliant on small convenience shops that stock little fresh food and charge customers 1.6 more than larger supermarkets.

Is easy access to affordable fresh produce an issue in your area?

Send us your comment on this film - and let us know how things are in your neighbourhood.

Food deserts:

•    The term food desert has its roots in the UK during the 1980s, when certain urban centres started losing easy access to fresh food. As grocery stores were relocating to the suburbs, inner city crime discouraged new stores from opening.

•    At the same time, supermarket chains found larger and less costly premises – along with more customer parking --- in suburban areas.

•    Between 1961 and 2005, the average supermarket size increased from 850 to 4000 square metres, even though they tended to be located in less densely populated areas.

•    US studies undertaken in pre-dominantly African-American neighbourhoods show that people with access to even one supermarket are more likely to eat the recommended amount of fresh produce than people living in “food deserts.”

•    In Quebec a study by Leger Marketing indicates that proximity is the leading factor in determining where people choose to buy their food.

•    40% of Montrealers do not have easy access to fresh produce.

Sources :
Profil sociodémographique Rosemont-La Petite Patrie,  May  2009, City of Montreal
The Montreal Gazette, April 18 2008
Kingston Whig-Standard, May 1, 2008
Les disparités dans l'accès à des aliments santé à Montréal; une étude géomatique, Direction de santé publique, Montréal. 2006.
 
Field director
Dominic Morissette

Editor
Miguel Raymond

Director-coordinator
Hélène Choquette

Original score

Robert-Marcel Lepage


© 2009 NFB – All rights reserved
 
Is part of the story:
 
 
  • The cost of food has risen during the recession -
  • and while overall retail sales figures dropped
  • by 5.8 % across the country, supermarket
  • sales increased by 7%.
  • Source: L'Actualité, May 15, 2009
 

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