WINNIPEG – It’s a statistic no one wants to read over the holidays, more and more Canadians need the help of food banks.
A new report from Food Banks Canada shows some 863,492 needed a food bank in March of 2016. That’s a 1.3 per cent jump from march of 2015 and a whopping 28 per cent spike compared to 2008.
That’s a year used as a benchmark in the reports because it marked the beginning of a global recession. The report uses March because it’s a normal month that doesn’t see major spikes or dips in people using food banks.
There is some good news this year. Manitoba is one of only two provinces that didn’t see an increase in food bank usage in 2016. Ontario was the other province where things stayed stable.
Nova Scotia saw the biggest jump in food bank use. Their numbers went up 20.9 per cent. Alberta and Saskatchewan saw 17 per cent increases.
One of the most troubling features of the story is that one in three people who use a food bank are below the age of 18.
Food Banks Canada says the government’s failure to support people going through tough times remains one of the big reasons for continued increases.
They’re calling on the Liberals in Ottawa to move ahead with a poverty reduction strategy and revamp the welfare system. Other ideas include creating a basic income for Canadians who are struggling and providing northern communities with better access to nutritious food.