Building a Better Ontario

Feed Ontario recognizes that hunger is a symptom of poverty. Food banks exist across this province, not because there is a lack of food, but because many individuals do not have access to a sufficient income that allows them to afford all of their basic necessities.

Long-term policy solutions are key to not only ending hunger, but alleviating poverty – but these require time and collaboration from community leaders and all levels of government. Feed Ontario regularly meets with community stakeholders and political representatives to discuss its policy recommendations for addressing poverty and hunger. 


Recommendations for Change

Invest In Affordable Housing Via Construction, Repairs and a Portable Housing Benefit

Over 89 percent of food bank clients are rental or social housing tenants who spend more than 70 percent of their income on rent.  This leaves very little for other necessities like heat, hydro, transportation, medicine, and food.

We Support: A portable housing benefit to assist low-income individuals with the high cost of housing and investments in affordable housing construction and repair, as per provincial commitments made in the National Housing Strategy bilateral agreement.

Increase Social Assistance Rates To Reflect Today's Cost of Living

Almost 70 percent of adults that visit a food bank throughout the year cite social assistance as their primary source of income. This is a clear indication that these support programs do not provide sufficient income to afford all of the recipient’s most basic needs.

We Recommend:  Raising social assistance rates to reflect today’s cost of living.  Feed Ontario supports the recommended approach detailed in:  Income Security: A Roadmap for Change.

Improve the Support Programs and Benefits Available to Seniors

Senior citizens are one of the fasting group groups of food bank visitors in the province. With the cost of housing and living expenses rapidly increasing, individuals on a fixed income are finding it more and more difficult to afford their most basic necessities each month. 

We Recommend:  Removing barriers to accessing the full funds available through the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). To learn more, please visit our detailed recommendations in Hunger Report 2018.

Create Secure Employment

Over the last decade, there has been a significant rise in precarious employment. These jobs often do not offer benefits, have unpredictable schedules, and pay low wages. This makes it difficult, or even impossible, to afford all of their basic expenses each month. Many employed Ontarians are living paycheque to paycheque, and have no choice but to turn to food banks to fill the gap.

We Recommend: Creating policies that ensures Ontario’s workers have sufficient income to afford their basic necessities each month, and save for unexpected expenses and retirement. 

Reinstate Ontario's Basic Income Pilot for its Intended Duration

In 2017, the Government of Ontario launched a Basic Income Pilot to investigate the viability of a guaranteed income benefit as a long-term solution to poverty.  This program was discontinued before its results could be determined.

We Recommend:  Reinstating Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot for its intended duration. Ensuring the complete investigation of this program is an invaluable opportunity and one that could serve as a foundation for building a more equitable society where all citizens have access to sufficient income for their basic needs and where no one goes hungry. To learn more about Ontario’s Basic Income project, please visit Hunger Report 2018

Farmer Tax Credit (Bill 36)

Ontario farmers who donate to local food banks and community meal programs are now eligible to receive a 25% tax credit based on the fair market value of the donated product!

Formerly the Ontario Association of Food Banks, Feed Ontario was instrumental in working with the agricultural community and MPP Bob Bailey (Sarnia-Lambton) to gain support on this initiative, which was passed in 2013 with all-party support.  Ontario is the first province in Canada to offer this tax credit.

 Read Our Fact Sheet

Learn More

Read our blogs on issues affecting food banks in Ontario

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