There are several degrees of prepper out there. From the guy with a flashlight in a drawer and some batteries "around somewhere" to the hardcore survivalist type with a compound in the wilderness protected by explosive boobytraps. So just how far should we go with our preps? Well, that of course is up to you.
Any government website will tell you to be able to support yourself for 3 days. That would mean 3 days worth of food, water, medical supplies, and a shelter to cover the absolute minimums. However, this plan of prepping would presume that you intend to be taken care of by disaster relief agencies as soon as they arrive, a scenario that I am personally not fond of. Remember Hurricane Katrina? Reports from the public shelters were not all that wonderful.
As a step further, many people keep food & water for about 2 weeks. These people usually also prepare with alternate heating & cooking, backup generators and plenty of lighting options. Not a bad idea, as this kind of prepping will last most people through most of what we have seen in recent history with a minimum of discomfort.
Further to that, there are the preppers who aim for a year of self sufficiency. These guys will usually have property of some sort with an extensive garden, and possibly a few small animals for production of much of their own food. The advantages to this is that you control much of what goes into your diet. Home canning, dehydrating, and stockpiling of staples, as well as alternative energy sources can be found in regular use. These are the people that, if you're not a prepper, wouldn't even know exist. They keep their supplies out of the eyes of everyone, don't tell you about how well stocked they really are and for good reason. If there should be a major event that would require such extensive supplies, wouldn't you head to them for help if you had no preps?
Then there is the stereotypical survivalist. Found throughout Canada and the US dawning camoflage everything, stocked up with more guns & ammunition than toilet paper and bragging about how they can't wait for the end of the world to come. Tin foil hats will be an option for them as they aren't really sure where those voices in their heads are coming from. You will see them around town in massive trucks picking up supplies at the town seed & feed, but never really know where they live. They will have several years of basic food such as rice & beans, but not much in the way of comfort food. The compound will be surrounded by chickens, goats, rabbits and possibly even a cow & pig or three. These guys are the ultimate in their own minds and are not to be toyed with even a little.
So where do you fit in? Well, if you're like me, then scenario #3 is your target. Ready for whatever mother nature should toss your way and at least getting ready for something worse. Just what is something worse? Well there are many out there that will tell you that the world economy is about to collapse making currency useless. Still others will have you believe that an asteroid is headed towards us and will wipe out 90% of the earth's population. Well folks, let's try to keep things in perspective. If you want my advice, look at history in your area of the country. What kinds of things have happened in the past 100 years or so. Do you live in a hurricane or tornado prone area? Is there a major fault line under your feet? Does the winter bring frequent & extended power outages or does the spring raise the waterline in the river nearby. Find out and get ready to deal with these things. Then ask yourself what if? Toronto is not exactly in tornado alley, but they have had them. Then take a look at what the more extreme preppers have to say and balance your beliefs against your common sense. Will the economy degrade to the point where only gold and silver are acceptable payments for basic necessities? Well maybe not, but given the current financial status, you might well lose your job and have a very hard time finding a new one and even then will you be making the salary you have now? How about the loss of the major bread winner of the family? Life insurance policies can take several months to pay out. If an earthquake were to devastate you and your neighbors, how long would it take for things to get back to normal? If you ask yourself simple questions like these, you may well realize that being self reliant for a year or even more may not be such a bad idea, but be sure to cover the most likely situations first and foremost.
Then again, if you do believe that an event with such consequences not outdone by anything less than the apocalypse itself is imminent, then by all means go get that secluded compound stocked and armed to the gills. Just don't forget plenty of tin foil for head gear.