Canadians are dealing with hunger and food insecurity as a result of skyrocketing grocery costs.
Food Banks Canada commissioned Mainstreet Research for a survey which found that nearly 25% of Canadians were eating less because of inflation. The number of people struggling doubled when taking into account those earning less than $50,000 a year.
When the 4,009 respondents were asked whether they had gone hungry at least once from March 2020 to March 2022, nearly 20% said yes.
The poll was conducted over the telephone from Feb. 25 to Mar. 2.
“Food banks in most regions of Canada are experiencing an influx of Canadians visiting food banks for the first time — a number that’s increased by up to 25 per cent in some regions,” said Food Banks Canada CEO Kirstin Beardsley. “Canadians are telling us that they are running out of money for food because of rising housing, gas, energy and food costs.”
According to Statistics Canada data, Canadians paid 9.7% more on groceries in April compared to the same time last year.
Daily Bread Food Bank recently reported that visits to their locations have tripled in some cities.
In Toronto, 100,000 people accessed the organization’s services. Before the pandemic that number was at 60,000.
According to Daily Bread CEO Neil Hetherington, visits are expected to climb up to nearly a quarter million.
“We expect that number to rise to about 225,000 client visits per month,” he said. “People are in need in the city, and we need to do something about it.”
Food banks are also seeing new clients who have never accessed their services before.
In Calgary, 75% of those visiting Daily Bread were new to the program.
“We know the answers to these social problems. We know the levers to pull. We know the impact that they’re going to have. We just need to have the political will and courage and leadership to be able to make that difference,” said Hetherington.