Survey of food banks and emergency food programs
Ottawa (10 Feb. 2006) - A national survey carried out every year since 1989 by the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB), has found that more than 800,000 people, including more than 325,000 children, depended on food banks to survive during 2005.
The group counts the number of people who seek assistance at food banks during a one-month period each year.
The numbers show that usage of food banks has dropped less than 1% since 2004. Those using food banks include many people who are employed but cannot make ends meet, as well as those living on government assistance.
"The steady erosion of income security benefits in Canada over the past ten years has been a significant factor in continued food insecurity in Canada, particularly among low-income households," the group says.
"A comprehensive set of policy measures – including living wages, adequate employment insurance and social assistance programs and more affordable housing and child care – along with concrete measurable objectives, are essential to improving the income security of low-income Canadians and consequently, in helping to reduce the need for food banks."
Despite ten years of economic growth in Canada, the current poverty rate of 14.4% is higher than in 1989, the year before the last major recession more than a decade ago.