The leading charitable organization targeting hunger relief revealed that 1 in 5 Canadians—an estimated 7 million people—recently reported going hungry.
According to Food Banks Canada, 23 percent of Canadians have reported they are eating “less than they think they should,” due to financial reduction and lack of resources available for food.
“This summer will be the toughest Canada’s food banks have ever experienced in our 41 year history,” says Kirstin Beardsley, CEO, Food Banks Canada, in a statement.
“The majority of food banks in every region of Canada are already stretched to their limits, with demand expected to remain high throughout the summer months as more and more Canadians struggle to cope with rising inflation.”
Between the pandemic, rapid inflation increase, and growing costs of essential goods and services, it’s no wonder Canadians are getting increasingly stressed out over money. Food Banks Canada’s research shows that 61 percent of Canadians believe housing costs are the largest financial barrier, preventing Canadians from being able to afford food—a number that has almost doubled in the past year.
“The biggest sign that inflation is seriously impacting hunger and food insecurity in Canada, is that the reasons why people say they are coming to food banks is changing,” said Beardsley.
“In the past, people would turn to food banks during times of job loss, or due to lower wages—but over the past six months, Canadians are telling us that they are running out of money for food because of rising housing, gas, energy and food costs. That’s an indication that we need to find new longer-term solutions to fight hunger and food insecurity.”
During the summer, food banks across Canada typically see less of a demand, but according to Beardsley, food bankers on the frontlines have reported no signs of reduced volume.
The numbers will only continue to rise as more and more Canadians find themselves struggling to afford food. In March 2021, there were over 1.3 million visits to Canadian food banks, a 20.3 percent increase in comparison to March 2019.
“Canada’s outdated social reforms are failing to keep pace with the new pressures of inflation and dramatically rising housing costs that are affecting every region of the country,” said Beardsley.
It’s time to tackle hunger at its root causes by improving access to affordable housing and piloting innovative, long-term income supports.”
Food Banks Canada encourages Canadians to support their local food banks during these challenging times.