Sep 27, 2023

By Jane Brown

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Canada is seeing the highest level of food bank use in this country’s history, prompting the launch of a national poverty report card.

The CEO of Food Banks Canada has given almost every province a near failing grade on poverty-reduction efforts, saying no province is showing significant progress in reducing poverty in the face of rising costs for food and housing.

Kirstin Beardsley says Ontario gets a D-minus due to high housing costs, barriers to accessing healthcare and the province’s food insecurity rate, which hovers around 20 percent of the population.

“Largely what we’re seeing is the grades are reflective of a lot of years of inaction,” Beardsley explained, “We are not seeing the type of momentum that we need to see to materially reduce poverty. And food bankers, of course, are on the front lines of that. We’re seeing far too many people struggling to make ends meet and making use of foodbanks.”

Beardsley says the report card also provides recommendations for governments charting a path forward for a better future.

Specific to Ontario, it says this province should focus on building affordable housing to alleviate poverty and double tax credits for low income families, among other measures.

In response, a spokesperson with Ontario’s social services says the province continues to invest in programs and services to make life more affordable for everybody across Ontario so nobody gets left behind.

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