No one plans to go without food. The rising cost of living, an increase in housing costs, unexpected lay-offs, or low-income work make hunger a reality for too many people. When expenses exceed income, food is often the first thing people go without to make way for fixed costs like housing and heat.
Even prior to the onset of the pandemic, working Ontarians were facing increased challenges in earning the income they needed to afford the basic necessities each month. As of 2019, Ontario has the highest proportion of minimum wage workers in Canada. Minimum wage and contract positions are often inconsistent in nature and rarely offer health benefits or sick days. As a result, workers in precarious positions are walking a fine line between having just enough and needing to access a food bank for support, leaving no room for retirement savings or unplanned expenses and emergencies.
- In the four years leading up to the pandemic, the proportion of employed adults accessing food banks grew by more than 44%.
- 86% of food bank users are renters and the proportion of visitors who own their home has increased 23% over the previous year.
- 14% of our network food banks provide employment search assistance.
- 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.