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1 in 10 Torontonians now using food bank amid 'skyrocketing' costs, stagnate wages: report


The number of people relying on food banks in Toronto has doubled this year, according to a new report on food insecurity and poverty in Canada’s largest city. 

The annual report, titled Who’s Hungry, was published Tuesday by the Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank, two Toronto-based charities.

“Skyrocketing housing costs, food inflation, stagnating wages, and insufficient income supports are pushing more and more households into poverty,” the report read.

“Food banks are at their breaking point.”

According to the report, there have been 2.53 million food bank visits in Toronto this year, a 51 per cent increase year-over-year and the highest annual surge ever reported.

“If usage rates continue, we will exceed 3 million visits by the end of the year,” the report noted.

Toronto food banks have seen a 154 per cent increase in new clients this year.

“We are adding 12,000 Torontonians to the registry of food banks every single month and the majority of those are people who are employed,” Neil Hetherington, the CEO of the Daily Bread Food Bank, told CP24 on Tuesday.

Food bank clients, the report said, have a median monthly income of $1,131, well below the official poverty line for Toronto, which now sits at 2,302 for a single individual.

About 89 per cent of food bank clients live in unaffordable housing, and about a quarter of those people spend 100 per cent of their income on housing, putting them at a “high risk for homelessness,” the report said.

“This was the worst report that the Daily Bread and North York Harvest have ever issued. One in 10 Torontonians are making use of a food bank and that is horrific and that is obscene and we need to do something about it,” Hetherington said.

The report authors are calling on Ottawa to “rapidly design and implement” an adequate and accessible Canada Disability Benefit, which will allow eligible recipients to begin receiving it by 2025.

The report said 18 per cent of food bank clients with disabilities have not been able to access the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), forcing them to rely on Ontario Works, a program that only provides $733 a month for a single individual.

The report also urges the provincial government to include 300,000 permanently affordable and supportive housing units in its plan to build 1.5 million new homes in Ontario over the next decade. At least 50,000 of those units must be in Toronto, the report added.

“It can’t continue this way,” Hetherington said. “We can’t continue to rely on food charity in order to make up for policy failures at different levels of government.” Top Stories

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