- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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!
How Can I Participate?
- Contact: Call, email, or visit your MPP
- Social Media: Post our shareables and tag us on Twitter Link opens a new window or Facebook Link opens a new window so we can boost it, as well as your MPP.
Who Should I Contact?
- Your Own MPP: Find your MPP Link opens a new window and their contact information Link opens a new window.
- Other Key MPPs: Premier Doug Ford (@FordNation Link opens a new window), Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Todd Smith (@ToddSmithPC Link opens a new window), and Parliamentary Assistant for Community and Social Services, Jeremy Roberts (@JR_Ottawa Link opens a new window)
If you are interested in learning more about hunger and poverty in Ontario, please see below for more recently released reports by Feed Ontario: