Poverty and food insecurity are on the rise, Canada food banks warn

Visits to food banks increase by 50%

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Canada has reached “a critical tipping point” as the high cost of living and housing in this country pushes more people below the poverty line, says a report released today by Food Banks Canada.

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According to the 2024 Poverty Report, nearly half of people nationwide feel worse financially than they did last year and one in four is food insecure.

“The Food Bank of Canada’s 2024 report cards show that people in Canada, from coast to coast, are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living,” said Food Banks of Canada CEO Kirstin Beardsley.

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“While deeply concerning, these results sadly come as no surprise to the thousands of food banks across the country that have seen a 50 percent increase in visits since 2021.”

According to the latest data, one in 10 Canadians currently lives in poverty, a substantial increase from just a few years ago, according to the report.

It wasn’t always like this. Between 2015 and 2020, Canada experienced the most dramatic decline in poverty ever recorded, with the rate falling from more than 14 per cent to 6.4 per cent, according to the report.

But in 2022 poverty rates began to rise as the economy was hit by a series of challenges. Rising interest rates, although intended to control inflation, hit low-income households hardest, rapid population growth put pressure on social services, and rents soared, increasing the proportion of income households owed. dedicate to housing.

Between February and April this year, 25 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 turned to a food charity due to lack of money.

The report sets out policy recommendations for Canada and each province designed to alleviate poverty, ranging from rent controls to youth employment programs and increased social assistance.

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But so far governments are not up to the challenge, Food Banks Canada said.

The report downgrades Canada’s grade from D to D-, indicating that in 2024 people will struggle more with poverty and the cost of living than in 2023.

The country also received failing grades for housing affordability, access to health care, and adequacy of government supports.

The study found that across Canada 47 per cent of people had difficulty navigating the tax system and did not know what tax benefits they were entitled to.

A quarter of Canadians said they have difficulty accessing the social services they need.

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inflation canada
Central Alberta

Canada’s inflation slowed again in April, strengthening the case for an interest rate cut in June, economists say. Measures of core inflation, which the Bank of Canada analyzes, cooled for the fourth straight month and are now all below 3 per cent, within the central bank’s target range.

“There is nothing in today’s report that would prevent the Bank of Canada from cutting rates in June,” said Central Alberta chief economist Charles St-Arnaud.

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“If the BoC does not make cuts, in our view it would be a matter of extreme caution, rather than suggesting that upside risks to inflation remain a concern.”

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Today’s Posthaste was written by Pamela Heaven with additional reporting from staff at the Financial Post, The Canadian Press and Bloomberg.

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