Ontarians can’t afford all of their basic needs, reveals new Hunger Report

By: Surjit Singh Flora

The primary reason that an individual or family may need to obtain a food bank is that they do not have sufficient income to afford all of their basic necessities each month. According to the report, written by authors Amanda King and Ashley Quan, the agency says it believes the growing numbers are the result of a number of changes to the province’s workforce, including changes to types of jobs available to working-age adults, changes to Ontario’s labour laws, and changes to Ontario’s social assistance and worker support programs. The majority of those seeking food bank assistance are Social Assistance,

A combination of chnages to the workforce, social assistance programs and labour laws are impacting the use of food banks across the province, including in Peel, a new report released earlier this week has revealed. The Hunger Report 2019, prepared by Feed Ontario, has revealed that between Apr. 1, 2018 and Mar. 31, 2019, the province’s food banks were accessed by 510,438 individuals that visited more than 3,059,000 times throughout the year.

Employment Assistance, or Old Age Security recipients, who account for 24.4 per cent of food bank visitors. Of those who go to the food bank, 72 per cent are those who live in rented housing, and 15 per cent live in social housing. The demand here is from food banks to food seekers and not to street food traditions, which can be seen separately at major intersections in cities such as Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. Over the past three years, food banks has noted a new trend that a large number of people working full-time or part-time are being added to the need for food. / Experts say precarious employment in creating this critical situation is due to weak employment law and lack of worker support programs in Ontario. One measure of poverty found in Ontario is the Market Basket Measure (MBM), described in the Hunger Report. MBM is the theory is that poverty is a situation when a family is unable to meet the basic needs of housing, food, and other life, which is directly related to income.

In 2018, the Government of Canada used MBM for the first time to define poverty. Official statistics show that one in seven Canadians live in poverty. According to statistics, the proportion of Ontario residents aged 25 years to 29 years has increased by 116 per cent since 1976, while 44 per cent of 55-59-yearolds are working part-time jobs. In the last two years, there has been an 88 per cent increase in the number of people who are forced to knock on food bank doors immediately after leaving work. These figures identify the reasons for filing a food bank presence that needs to be taken to eliminate it. Where the government needs to strengthen social assistance, generating permanent and well-paid jobs can be a permanent solution to the problem. Food banks are intended to help societies with policies that perpetuate food insecurity. The problem isn’t the food banks; they are a symptom, not a solution, to situations where lots of people can’t afford to put even cheap, unhealthy food on their tables. The reason for those situations are policies where people are not affords enough income to pay for even the basic necessities. Low minimum wages and income supports that maintain people below the poverty line are two examples of policies that serve to perpetuate the need for food banks. The whole idea of a food bank is an equal distribution of resources. Residents looking to get involved are encouraged to participate in local / food donation drives. The report can be accessed by visiting feedontario.ca/hunger-report.

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
editor@asiametro.ca

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