Canadians in Toronto have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
A new report by the Daily Bread Food Bank and the North York Harvest Food Bank shows that the number of Torontonians visiting a food bank has reached a record high this year.
When compared to 2019, visits to the food bank for the month of June were up by 22% and up by 51% in August.
“When the COVID-19 crisis began, food banks saw an almost immediate increase in visits. The pandemic exposed the financial precarity of many households and demonstrated that our social safety net was not up to the task of protecting people from a dual health and economic crisis,” claims the Who’s Hungry 2020 report.
“The surge in food bank use that has come in the wake of the pandemic is not expected to ease as the economy reopens. If current usage trends continue, we project there will be close to 1.4 million visits to food banks in Toronto in 2021. Food banks are preparing to meet this heightened need for years to come.”
According to the report, food bank use was trending upwards even before the pandemic. In 2010, the number of people visiting food banks peaked due to the 2008 economic recession.
Projections show that Canadians can expect to pay more for groceries in 2020 due to rising prices.
Canada’s 2019 Food Price report estimates that the cost of meat, vegetables, fruits and seafood will be impacted by a price increase of between 2% to 4%.
Food insecurity is not the only growing issue those in Toronto have had to deal with since the coronavirus pandemic took off.
Recent figures show that opioid overdose deaths have spiked in the city by up to 85% since the beginning of the pandemic.