It's time to reduce the need for food banks
The upcoming Ontario election is an opportunity for all parties to commit to policies that will turn the tide on rising food bank use in our province.
When you cast your ballot during the Ontario 2022 elections, keep poverty reduction in mind.
3 big ideas to put food banks out of business
Food banks don't want to be needed. Unfortunately, Ontarians are turning to food banks for help in record numbers. While the pandemic has played a role, the primary drivers are cuts to social assistance, unaffordable housing, and precarious work.
Let's change this.
End legislated poverty
Social assistance programs that keep people in poverty are a major driver of food bank use. Our data shows that 2 in 3 food bank visitors rely on Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Incomes for OW and ODSP are well below the poverty line and haven't increased in 4 years, despite a rising cost of living.
We need to raise the rates to $2,000 and reform unfair rules that keep recipients in poverty.
Make housing affordable
The majority of people who visit a food bank are renters, and rent in Ontario has increased by 22% over the last 4 years.
Social housing is a great option for low-income households to ensure they can afford their rent and have money left over for groceries and other essentials. Yet current plans to provide affordable housing falls far short of the need.
We need to build far more social and supportive housing, expand the housing benefit, and protect tenants.
Guarantee decent work for all
While a good job can help someone escape poverty, the rise in precarious work in Ontario means that many workers can't make ends meet.
Leading up to the pandemic, the proportion of workers accessing a food bank increased by 44%
We need to increase the minimum wage and improve the Employment Standards Act to better protect workers.
Ask your candidates to take action
Tell your local provincial candidates that you want to see Ontario's next government take action to reduce poverty in our province!
Send an email to all the candidates in your riding with our easy-to-use tool. Simply fill in your name, email, and postal code, and it will automatically detect your riding and direct the email to the right people.
We've created an email template, but we strongly encourage you to add your own details so that candidates know that you care. Include personal stories, reasons why poverty reduction is important to you, or even just slightly rephrase what we've written!
Want to learn more about food insecurity, poverty, and food bank use in Ontario?
- Explore Hunger Report 2021, which discusses how the pandemic accererated the existing income and affordability crisis in Ontario
- Try our Hunger In My Riding tool for a report on what food insecurity looks like in your community
- Read the stories of food banks and the people they serve