How Inflation Rates Are Affecting Food-Bank Usage in Toronto

Inflation is rising in Canada, and Toronto is not untouched by it. The record-high inflation has led to an increase in food banks' use, and some are even running out of daily supplies. Read on to know more about how inflation rates are affecting food bank usage in Toronto.

Rising Pressure on Food Banks

When asked about the current situation, Julie LeJeune, the Fort York Food Bank executive director, said, "Our shelves are bare again. After serving 95 people today, I have one can of beans left and no pasta sauce." All that happened in just three hours.

In March 2019, food banks in Toronto had 60,000 client visits. In March 2022, the number has climbed to 160,000, according to Neil Hetherington, CEO of Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank. In March this year, 5,700 people used the food banks for the first time in Toronto.

He said, "The new faces that are coming to food banks are people who have jobs, they are working hard." He added that half of the people using the food banks have post-secondary education. Hetherington also mentioned that the recent rise in inflation had increased the affordability problems, especially as the ending of pandemic support programs is rising.

He also mentioned that The Daily Bread Food Bank sends 80,000 pounds of food to local food banks daily. This number is three times more than before the pandemic. He stated, "We've had to proactively increase the amount of food so that they don't run out of shortages."

The high housing costs and the ending of pandemic support programs have already meant that individuals and families rely on food banks to survive. The recent increase in gas and food prices has worsened the situation for such families and individuals.

New Record

According to reliable data, inflation in Canada reached the highest point since 1991 and jumped to 6.7% in March. Supply chain issues and the Russia-Ukraine war have led to a sharp rise in grocery prices. They have risen by 8.7 % this March as compared to 2021.

Will It Impact the Future of Canadians?

If the food prices keep rising, more people will experience food insecurity. As a result, food banks might become exhausted as the demand they face rises quickly. People who have lower incomes might face more hardship. Grocery theft might also rise as people who can't afford food might steal it if they don't get any help from a food bank.

How Can the Food Insecurity Problem be Solved?

One of the solutions in the current situation is to increase the basic income of Toronto people. Though Ontario has recently increased the minimum wage to CAD 15 an hour, and it will become CAD 15.50 in October, it's not enough. The Stop food bank stated that a living wage in Toronto is $22.08 per hour.

A guaranteed annual income or basic income can also help ensure that all Canadians have sufficient income to afford the necessities.



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