The data is clear - food bank use in Canada remains at unacceptably high levels. While food banks are finding new and innovative ways to provide healthy, nutritious food and a wide variety of services to support those they serve, only long-term policy solutions can address the root causes of hunger in Canada.
This is because the root cause of food bank use is, and always has been, related to poverty and low income – and this core issue can only be addressed through government policies.
With a newly elected minority government in Ottawa, and with many new progressive voices representing communities across the country, there is an opportunity to build on the foundational pieces that were put into place over the last few years.
The introduction of the Canada Child Benefit, the poverty reduction strategy, the national housing strategy and the expansion of the Canada Workers Benefit (just to name a few) were all policy recommendations that we advocated for in previous HungerCount reports and we welcome them as key pillars to built upon moving forward.
These are positive and important steps, but it is clear that much more still needs to be done if we are to reach the intended goals of significantly reducing poverty, and food bank use, in Canada.
Good intentions and well laid out strategies alone will not be enough to meet Food Banks Canada’s vision of a Canada where no one goes hungry.
To that end, implementing the following policy recommendations are essential if the federal government wants to meet the targets set forth in its poverty reduction strategy and ultimately reduce the need for food banks in the long term.