Hundreds of thousands of Canadians flock to food banks as inflation soars

Canadians have flocked to food banks as the country is facing a “food crisis” triggered by skyrocketing inflation and the rising cost of living, the CEO of Canada’s largest food bank has warned.

“We are absolutely in a food crisis in this country and certainly in the city of Toronto,” Daily Bread Food Bank Toronto CEO Neil Hetherington said in a recent AFP interview.

Toronto food banks have reported a record high of 270,000 client visits per month in March, marking a four-time increase compared to the number of people asking for food from Daily Bread before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It has escalated by four times” since the pandemic hit, said Hetherington.

He referred to the jump in real estate prices last year as one of the main reasons behind the exacerbated cost-of-living crisis.

The average monthly cost of a studio apartment in Canada’s largest city is 2,124 Canadian dollars (US$1,568), up about 380 Canadian dollars from last year, according to a report by the real estate firm Urbanation.

The high cost of living has also caused Canadians with full-time jobs to take resort to food banks affiliated with Daily Bread to make ends meet.

Food Banks across the country have stated that even though members of the local community continue to send donations, it’s still insufficient to reduce the lines outside food banks.

According to a study, carried out by the University of Calgary based on the data obtained from Daily Bread Food Bank, increases in rent and decreases in disability benefits were the primary causes of a 53 percent increase in visits to Toronto food banks between January 2014 and March 2020.

According to Food Banks Canada, 7 million Canadians reported going hungry at least once between March 2020 and 2022, and the number is on the rise as food inflation has stayed high at almost 10 percent over the past year.

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