Food Banks Canada: Hunger Count 2012
“Hunger is toxic for those living through it, and it is harmful to Canada as a whole. It reduces the economic contributions of individuals, and increases costs related to health care and social services.”
In the Hunger Count 2012, Food Banks Canada examines food bank usage across the country. They link hunger to negative health outcomes and reducing poverty to increased health and lowered health care costs:
"Reducing household food insecurity, and the poverty that underlies it, is a win-win situation. It is a win for people facing low income, and for Canada as a whole. One does not need to look far to find many libraries worth of evidence that poverty is a key negative influence on health. Reducing low income leads to better health, which leads to higher levels of economic participation and lower costs related to health care and social services.”
Statistics on Hunger in Canada
- 93,000 people each month access a food bank for the first time
- 38% of those turning to food banks are children and youth
- 4% of adults helped are over age 65
- 11% of people assisted are Aboriginal
- 52% of households helped receive social assistance
- 18% have income from current or recent employment
- 14% receive disability-related income supports
- 14% of food banks ran out of food during the survey period
- 55% of food banks needed to cut back on the amount of food provided to each household
Recommendations for Reducing Hunger in Canada
Food Banks Canada makes five recommendations to reduce hunger in Canada:
- Increase the federal investment in affordable housing, so that people are not forced to choose between paying rent or buying food.
- Establish a Northern Food Security Innovation Fund, comprehensive territorial school breakfast programs, and new community infrastructure to help address the incredibly high levels of household food insecurity in the territories.
- Improve the Guaranteed Income Supplement so that no senior falls below the poverty line.
- At the provincial government level, make significant changes to social assistance, so that the program helps people to live with dignity and get back on their feet.
- Increase the value, and broaden the eligibility for the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), and increase investment in education and training for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in Canada who are not able to access Employment Insurance benefits.