October 31st, 2018

While Ford cuts social assistance, food bank usage skyrockets in Toronto suburbs: NDP

The NDP’s critic for Poverty and Homelessness, Rima Berns –McGown, said that this morning’s Daily Bread Food Bank report warns how Ford’s cuts and attacks on social assistance will force more people than ever before — including seniors — to rely on food banks.

The Daily Bread Food Bank’s annual report shows that almost one million Torontonians were served through meal programs over the course of a year. Etobicoke experienced the highest increase of 170 per cent in the usage of food banks. Doug Ford is MPP for Etobicoke North.

“Instead of addressing the issues that people need their government to tackle, like food insecurity and poverty, Doug Ford has instead cut in half the planned increase to OW and ODSP and cancelled the basic income pilot project,” said Berns-McGown, MPP for Beaches-East York.

“How much longer will Ontarians be left to fend for themselves while the government continues to make cuts that harm our most vulnerable?”

The annual report shows a 61 per cent increase in food bank usage in Toronto’s inner suburbs, while the number of seniors over 65 using food banks has nearly tripled, increasing from 3 per cent to 8 per cent in the past ten years. In Scarborough, food bank visits rose by 86 per cent. There were 914,000 food bank visits over the last year in Toronto. Over 60 per cent of food bank clients rely on social assistance to make ends meet.

The Daily Food Bank’s CEO, Neil Hetherington, was clear that the cuts to social assistance are going to drive up food bank use going forward.

“Year after year, poverty levels are deepening in Ontario,” said Berns-McGown. “The top three reasons people still missed a meal were to pay for rent, phone bills and transportation.

“This is utterly unacceptable.

“People should not go hungry because have to take the TTC or pay their rent on time.

“When is this government going to stop this outrageous disregard for Ontario’s most vulnerable and start taking real action on the issues that matter most to them?”