No one plans to be out of work. But a physical injury or mental health concern can make that a reality. Disability related benefits are the primary source of income for 1 in 3 people who use a food bank in Ontario. Many have less than $100 each month after paying for housing and utilities.
Ontario’s social assistance rates – including the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) – have remained frozen since 2018 and yet the cost of living, including rent, hydro, gas, and food have continued to increase. Social assistance recipients receive $646 to $1,422 less income than needed to simply reach the poverty line each month. It remains true that people with a disability are more likely to be in poverty and less likely to have employment than those without disabilities.
- Disability related benefits are the primary source of income for 1 in 3 people who use a food bank in Ontario.
- Social assistance has remained unchanged despite a 12% increase in the cost of living since 2018.
- 53% of our network food banks provide home delivery of food.
- 592,308 adults, seniors, and children accessed a food bank in Ontario between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 – an increase of 10% over the last year.
- Last year was the largest single year increase in food bank use since the 2008 recession – when demand for food banks skyrocketed by 18%.
- Ontario’s food banks were visited more than 3.6 million times throughout the last year, an increase of 12 percent over the previous year.
- Feed Ontario supports 1,200 hunger relief organizations across the province and distributed more than 8 million pounds of food last year, 50% of this was fresh or frozen.
- 91% of food banks provide services and programming beyond emergency food support.
- Ontario’s food banks are seeing a 31% increase in the number of individuals accessing services when comparing January to June 2022 with the same pre-pandemic 6-month time period in 2019.