HungerCount 2010, the annual report by Food Banks Canada, shows that total food bank use across the country has increased by over nine percent since 2009. However, food banks were unable to meet the increased need. The report provides statistics on food bank use across Canada, gives recommendations for improving access to the labour market and income security, and provides a snapshot of the health of food banks for each province (territories are not included).
Canadian food banks served nearly 870,000 individuals in 2010 — the highest level of usage ever recorded in Canada. Ontario saw the third highest increase in the country. The authors found that the vast majority of food bank users are people who receive social assistance, and single households account for 40 percent of food bank users. Half of the food banks had to cut back on the amount of food provided to each household in 2010 and 35 percent ran out of food at some point during the year.
The report also offers recommendations on how the need for food banks can be reduced, including implementing a federal poverty reduction and prevention strategy; raising provincial income support program benefits; implementing a federal housing strategy and increasing affordable housing; increasing federal investment in child care; and addressing the high rates of low income among seniors.
See “HungerCount 2010: A Comprehensive Report on Hunger and Food Bank Use in Canada, and Recommendations for Change,” Food Banks Canada, 2010, available at www.foodbankscanada.com.