Food BanksPublished on 5 November 2014 Hansard and Statements by Senator Wilfred Moore (retired)
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore:
Honourable senators, I rise today to note that yesterday marked the annual release of Food Banks Canada’s report, HungerCount 2014. This year’s report is entitled “Why do we need food banks in a country as rich as Canada?”
Senators, 841,191 Canadians are forced, for any number of circumstances, to turn to food banks every month. This is a 25 per cent increase since 2008. More than one third of those helped by food banks are children. One out of every six households helped by food banks has income from current and recent employment.
Food bank use increased in 6 of our 10 provinces. Forty-three per cent of households accessing support from food banks are single people, that is, persons living alone without children. This sector has seen the greatest rise over the years. In 2001, single Canadians made up 29 per cent of those who accessed food banks. In 2014 this number rose to 43 per cent.
Food bank usage by First Nations, Metis and Inuit is still climbing.
In my own province of Nova Scotia, 20,000 people used a food bank in 2014; 30 per cent were children.
The reality is that since the recession of 2007-08, a large number of Canadians have not recovered from the devastating effects of the economic downturn. With poverty being a main driver of food bank use, Food Banks Canada has several suggestions to relieve some of the problems which perpetuate the cycle of poverty for a great many Canadians. These suggestions are as follows: build affordable housing, reduce food insecurity in the North, fix the broken welfare system, reduce the incidence of child poverty, and provide Canadians with the skills needed for well-paying jobs.
Senators, I thank Food Banks Canada for this report and I applaud the work of those who try to provide nourishment for Canadians who can no longer afford this on their own. I hope we can all work together to break this cycle.