Food Banks Canada is proud of its comprehensive research into food banks and food bank use in Canada. As a charitable organization, we are fortunate to have members and donors who support our public education and research efforts. All of our reports and surveys share the goal of reducing hunger in Canada.
In Canada, hunger is largely a hidden problem. Many Canadians are simply not aware that large numbers of children, women and men in this country often go to bed hungry.
Who is Hungry in Canada?
While anyone is at risk of food insecurity at some point in their lives, certain groups are particularly vulnerable:
People with jobs constitute the third largest group of food bank clients, at 11.4%. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the majority of food bank clients with jobs are employed at low wages. The loss of full-time jobs during the recent recession and the expansion of the low-wage economy has generated more working poor who are unable to meet basic needs for themselves and their families.
Children continue to be over-represented among food bank recipients in Canada. This year, 37.8% of food bank clients were under 18. Child poverty has remained at the same level for two decades, despite the fact that the federal government commited to end child poverty by the year 2000. Child poverty is directly tied to the level of household income. Among households accessing food banks, families with children make up more than 50% of recipients.
Families with children:
Over half of households who turn to a food bank for assistance are families with children. The single parent family is still one of Canada’s most economically vulnerable groups. It is likely that many of the single parent households assisted by food banks (27.5% of the total), as reported in HungerCount 2010, are headed by women: according to Statistics Canada, 80% of single-parent families are headed by women.
Despite the fact that many of Canada’s rural communities are located in prime agricultural areas, hunger is a reality for tens of thousands of the nation’s rural residents. About half of the food banks participating in HungerCount 2010 are located in rural communities (defined as having populations of fewer than 10,000 people).
Persons With Disabilities:
Those receiving disability income supports now make up the second largest group of food bank users, according to the 2010 HungerCount report (15%). This is an example of the broader problem of inadequate social assistance in Canada. Disability support is not enough to help clients provide for themselves. If current disability programs and rates do not improve we expect to continue to see a rise in food insecurity among this demographic, since Canada has a rapidly aging society and life expectancy is increasing.
Seniors accessing food banks across Canada is a sad reality. HungerCount 2010 reports that seniors accounted for 7.2 % of adults assisted by food banks in a typical month.
Recipients of Social Assistance:
People receiving social assistance as their primary source of income continue to make up the largest group of food bank clients. This year, 50.5% of those assisted by food bank in Canada were receiving social assistance. This suggests that social assistance rates in Canada are not sufficient to ensure food security for low-income Canadians. According to the National Council of Welfare, welfare rates across Canada continue to fall below Statistics Canada Low Income Cut-Offs.
February 16, 2011 | Categories: Learn more about the Problem of Hunger in Canada, Lessons, Social Issues: where we're needed | Tags: Canada, Food bank, Food Banks Canada, National Council of Welfare, Philanthropy, Poverty, Welfare, Working poor | Leave a comment