Hunger Count 2012: a comprehensive report on hunger and food bank use in Canada, and recommendations for change.
We posted the earlier report for Ontario and this additional report provides a summary across Canada and key recommendations.
In Rural Ontario
- 42% people accessing food banks are women followed by 17.1% aboriginal persons
- 39.7 % are single people and 23.8% are two-parent families
- 39.3 are on social assistance and 33.6 on disability-related income support; 10.8% are wage earners
- 67.3 are rental market tenants and 15.2% are social housing tenants
The key factor at the root of the need for food banks is low income, whether in the short or long term. People asking for help are working in low-paying jobs, receiving meagre social assistance benefits, managing on inadequate pensions.
They face rising costs related to food, housing, and energy. In the current economy, they are worried that things are not going to get better.
These issues have a deep impact. Hunger is toxic for those living through it, and it is harmful to Canada as a whole. It reduces the economic contributions of individuals, and increases costs related to health care and social services. To address it, we need to be smarter about helping people become more self-sufficient, and we need to be more supportive of those who need help over the longer term.
HungerCount offers 5 key recommendations:
1. Increase federal investment in affordable housing, so that people are not forced to choose between paying rent or buying food.
2. Establish a Northern Food Security Innovation Fund, comprehensive territorial school breakfast programs, and new community infrastructure, to help address the incredibly high levels of household food insecurity in the territories.
3. Improve the Guaranteed Income Supplement so that no senior falls below the poverty line.
4. At the provincial government level, make significant changes to social assistance, so that the program helps people to live with dignity and get back on their feet.
5. Increase the value, and broaden eligibility for the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), and increase investment in education and training for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in Canada who are not able to access Employment Insurance benefits.