Report Highlights

  • Food bank use was on the rise pre-COVID-19: Between April 1, 2019 — March 31, 2020, 537,575 people accessed food banks across Ontario (+5.3% over the previous year), visiting over 3,282,500 times (+7.3% over the previous year)
  • With the onset of COVID-19, food banks saw a surge in demand: Ontario’s food banks saw a 26% increase in first-time visitors between March and June 2020
  • In some communities, government intervention helped flatten the curve of food bank use. However, as government supports wind down, food bank use is growing rapidly: 1 out of 2 food bank visitors are worried about eviction or defaulting on their mortgage in the next two to six months, and 93% borrowed money from friends and family, accessed a payday loan, or used a credit card to help pay for monthly necessities
  • Food banks are implementing a number of new programs to respond to COVID-19: With the onset of COVID-19, Ontario’s food banks rapidly shifted their operations in a wide variety of ways to meet the demand in their communities while adhering to physical distancing and safety guidelines

Recommendations for Change

  1. Provide immediate income support to those most impacted by COVID-19: Reinstate the Emergency Benefit for Social Assistance Recipients for the duration of the pandemic and provide immediate rent relief to low-income tenants who are facing large rent arrears or the possibility of eviction due to COVID-19.
  2. Overhaul Ontario’s social assistance programs to ensure that recipients have the resources and means to move out of poverty: Align social assistance rates with the national standard set by CERB
  3. Invest in a strong workforce to ensure that working Ontarians are able to earn enough income to afford today’s cost of living: Develop labour laws and policies that benefit hardworking people, including the reinstatement of paid sick days, equal pay for equal work, and quality jobs that provide a livable wage.


Get Involved

You can help #FeedChange and support people in need across Ontario by sharing the findings of Hunger Report 2020 and Feed Ontario’s recommendations for change!

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Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about hunger and poverty in Ontario, please see below for more recently released reports by Feed Ontario: