Use of foods banks rose to the highest levels in Canadian history in 2022: report

Oct 27 2022, 1:28 pm

This year saw the use of food bank rise to the highest levels in Canadian history, according to a bleak new report.

Food Banks Canada just dropped its landmark HungerCount 2022 report that reveals just how devastating the state of food insecurity is in the country.

According to the report, food banks across the country were straining under a historically high demand that culminated in 1.5 million visits in March 2022.

This means the use of food banks is up 35% compared to pre-pandemic visits in 2019.

Food Banks Canada cites high inflation and a “broken” social safety net as the main causes for this spike, which has affected Canadians of all ages and socioeconomic status.

‚ÄúCanada‚Äôs food banks are facing uncharted challenges as turbulent economic conditions continue to exacerbate and deepen systemic inequities, especially for employed people earning low incomes, students and seniors on fixed incomes,‚ÄĚ explained Food Banks Canada CEO Kirstin Beardsley in a statement.

The research study, which encompasses the country’s over 4,750 food banks and community organizations, came to some grim conclusions.

Seniors accessing food banks have increased to 8.9% vs. 6.8% before the pandemic. The report says this is due to low-income seniors being affected by inflation due to their fixed incomes.

The younger generation is also feeling the impacts of inflation.

The study found that one-third of clients using food banks are children, and they represented about 500,000 visits in March 2022. It says the higher cost of living makes households with children more vulnerable to poverty and hunger.

Students’ visits to food banks also increased to 7.1% in 2022 vs. 4.7% in the previous year.

In fact, university students have been protesting the rise in food prices on campuses.

An interesting data point the study found is that for the first time, there was a significant increase in clients who are employed.

“Food bankers were less likely to cite unemployment as the main reason clients were accessing a food bank compared to last year (from 10.3% to 7%),” explains the report.

It adds that the top three reasons people accessed a food bank this year were due to food costs, low provincial social assistance rates, and housing costs.

This study comes just a week after Statistics Canada revealed that food inflation is rising at the fastest pace since August 1981.

Along with the data, Food Banks Canada included policy recommendations to curb food insecurity.

  • Canada needs to progress towards a minimum income floor for all
  • Our affordable housing crisis needs immediate and long-term solutions
  • Canada needs new policies that guarantee those who work will always have enough money to put food on the table
  • Food insecurity and poverty must get special attention in northern and remote parts of Canada

“Food Banks Canada‚Äôs HungerCount 2022 report is a devastating wake-up call for all people living in Canada and our governments that we must take action to Starve the Hunger that is destroying communities and lives,” said Beardsley.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

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