Feed Ontario unveils new Hunger in My Riding tool ahead of the provincial election
New Feed Ontario tool shows that rent is only affordable in 2 out of 100 communities in Ontario.
TORONTO, ON, October 7, 2021 – During the final week of the fifth annual ‘Hunger Action Month’ campaign, Feed Ontario unveiled its new Hunger in My Riding tool to showcase the ways hunger impacts communities across Ontario.
Hunger in My Riding is an interactive tool that allows users to generate custom reports on the impact of hunger in their provincial electoral riding and support conversations with local MPPs ahead of the provincial election. Reports include statistics on food bank use, social assistance, the cost of renting, social housing waitlists, and poverty rates.
Using the Hunger in My Riding tool, Feed Ontario analysed 100 communities throughout Ontario, and found that rent was only affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker in two of the 100 communities.
“While concerning, the fact that housing is affordable for minimum wage workers in only 2% of the Ontario communities analysed is not surprising,” says Siu Mee Cheng, Interim Executive Director of Feed Ontario. “We urge the Ontario Government to invest in affordable housing and develop policies which help build stable employment and liveable wages.”
This result is consistent with ongoing trends in reasons for people accessing Ontario’s food banks, including housing affordability and insufficient employment income.
As seen in Feed Ontario’s 2020 Hunger report, nearly 90% of food bank visitors are rental or social housing tenants, who are spending the majority of their monthly income on rent. Ontario’s food banks have also seen an increase of 44% in the number of visitors with employment.
The Hunger in My Riding tool draws on visitor data collected by the Feed Ontario food bank network through the cloud-based client intake system Link2Feed, as well as data from the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Statistics Canada, and the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.
“Hunger is a symptom of poverty,” says Cheng. “Over 537,000 people accessed a food bank more than 3.2 million times over the past year and we anticipate that that number will continue to rise. It is only through our collective action to understand and respond to the factors and conditions that contribute to food insecurity that we can end hunger in Ontario.”
The Hunger in My Riding tool was launched during ‘Hunger Action Month’; a province-wide campaign dedicated to encouraging organizations, communities, and individuals to take action against hunger. Run in partnership with local food banks, the month encourages people to ‘Feed Change’ through four key actions: educate, advocate, volunteer, and donate.
In Ontario, the lead sponsor for Hunger Action Month 2021 was Meridian, with additional sponsorship from Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Barilla Canada, and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association. Turkey Farmers of Ontario also generously matched all online donations of $20 or more made to Feed Ontario during the ‘donate’ week (September 26th to October 2nd), with the equivalent of a whole turkey for a family in need, up to a total of $10,000.
Key Data Highlights:
- The ridings with the highest percentage of visitors who are children are Brampton West (49%), Milton (48%), and Nepean (46%)
- The ridings with the highest rates of food bank clients relying on social assistance are Nipissing (83%), Sudbury (82%), and Niagara Centre (81%)
- Rent is only affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker in 2 out of 100 communities in Ontario
- There is a waitlist for social housing in every community in the province, from 121 households in Rainy River to 78,177 households in Toronto
To see how hunger impacts your community, please visit https://feedontario.ca/hunger-in-my-riding/
And to learn more about Hunger Action Month, please visit https://feedontario.ca/hunger-action-month
About Feed Ontario
From Securing fresh and healthy food sources, to driving change through policy research and innovative programming, Feed Ontario unites food banks, industry partners, and local communities in our work to end hunger and poverty.
Join us as we Feed Ontario and help build a healthier province. Every $1 raised provides 3 meals to an Ontarian in need.