Ways to build a better Ontario
Food banks provide a wide range of emergency and support services to those facing hunger; however, they are not a solution to food insecurity or poverty. Food insecurity and poverty are complex issues that can only be solved by good public policy and adequate support programs that ensure all Ontarians have the income they need to afford their basic necessities each month.
Ways in which the Government of Ontario can take immediate action in addressing food insecurity and poverty in our province include:
Invest in Affordable Housing
Near 90% of those who access food banks are rental or social housing tenants who spend the majority of their monthly income on rent. This leaves very little income for other necessities like heat, hydro, transportation, and food. In order to offset these expenses, many visitors to food banks report incurring increased debt to help pay for month necessities as well as choosing to go without food in order to pay their bills.
We recommend: Investing in the construction and repair of social and supportive housing; Expanding the Canada-Ontario’s housing benefit; Strengthening housing and rental laws; and Providing rent relief to low-income tenants facing eviction due to COVID-19
Put People at the Centre
Ontarians living in poverty are the experts on the challenges that they face and the ones that will be most impacted by changes or enhancements to provincial policies and programs. Including the perspectives of people living in poverty and/or those with lived experience is therefore essential to investments and policies meet the needs of those they are intended to assist.
We recommend: Ensuring that the voices of people with lived experience are at the table and that their insight is used to guide decision-making processes; and Passing Bill 60: Social Assistance Research Commission.