Food Banks Struggle with Growing Hunger
The number of Ontario residents using food banks continues to grow, increasing by 4.5% last year, according to HungerCount, the annual survey of Canadas food banks. Since the first survey was published in 1989, the number of Canadians using food banks has more than doubled. The report, released annually on World Food Day, notes that the number of people visiting food banks each month now exceeds the total population of New Brunswick.
As a group, children
continue to suffer disproportionately from hunger 26% of the population
is under 18, but they account for 39% of food bank clients. Ontario has
the dubious distinction of having the countrys highest rate of food
bank use among children.
The survey also asked food banks to identify public policy initiatives that would most effectively alleviate hunger. Raising social assistance benefits topped the list (29%), followed by increasing the minimum wage (21%), and more affordable rental housing (13%). The report observes that social assistance rates and minimum wages in all provinces and territories now fall below the Statistics Canada low-income cut-off level. It also cites recent poll results that found 90% of Canadians believe governments are responsible for solving the problem of hunger.
To obtain a copy of
HungerCount 2003 please visit:
Page last updated Nov. 7, 2003