Community Frugal Crowd Health & Wellness Videos

‘Put Food in the Budget’ Campaign Reveals Reason for Governments & Corporations to Like Food Banks

This video presents Food Banks Canada: HungerCount 2014.

The HungerCount report is the only comprehensive study of food bank use in Canada.

It offers a snapshot of the people helped by food banks and other charitable food programs, looks at the causes of hunger and food insecurity, and offers recommendations to reduce hunger.

Who Banks on Food Banks in Canada? Infographic by the Put Food in the Budget campaign
Who Banks on Food Banks in Canada? Infographic by the Put Food in the Budget campaign

The Put Food in the Budget campaign provides these Basic Facts.

About 1.7 million people in Canada receive food from food banks each year:3

  • 841,191 people receive food from a food bank in Canada in an average month.4
  • 375,789 people receive food from a food bank in Ontario in an average month.5
  • 1,040,400 individual visits a year were reported by Daily Bread Food Bank member agencies in the Greater Toronto Area, averaging 86,700 visits permonth.6
  • 37% of the people who receive food from food banks are children.7

Food banks distribute about 200 million pounds of food each year in Canada.8

A single person on Ontario Works receives $656 per month.9

Income inequality has reached levels higher than at any time since the 1930s.10

The Put Food in the Budget campaign asks the following pertinent questions:

  • Why do governments and corporations like food banks?
  • Paying recipients enough social assistance to pay the rent and buy their own food makes much more sense than food bank dependency. Why won’t governments do this?
  • Again, when the result is so meagre, we must ask what is the real reason for these high-profile corporate charity campaigns?

Here are the eye-opening answers.

Community Frugal Crowd Health & Wellness

Put Food in the Budget Urges Candidates to Raise Social Assistance Rates: June 12 Ontario Election

 From “10 Things You Might Not Know About Poverty In Canada,” George Stroumboulopoulos shared with us the following insights regarding poverty in Canada:

  • It’s hard to measure.
  • It varies widely between different groups.
  • Child poverty is high in Canada.
  • It’s a significant burden on the economy.
  • Many Canadians spend too much on shelter.
  • Poverty can shorten your life.
  • Many don’t have enough to eat.
  • Homelessness is widespread.
  • Debt levels are on the rise.
  • Early investment can yield big dividends.

Therefore, poverty is a very important issue for all Canadians.

Put Food in the Budget is urging Canadians in Ontario, Canada, to help get poor people’s issues on the agenda in this election and beyond.

Illustration by Tony Biddle:
Illustration by Tony Biddle:

While politicians run for re-election, people are still walking to food banks …

“Leaders of Ontario’s major political parties are not talking about poverty during the election campaign, nor are they discussing meaningful increases to social assistance rates. What are they talking about?

  • Premier Kathleen Wynne’s proposed budget included just $30 a month more for people receiving Ontario Works benefits. That would raise the rate to $650 a month, still completely inadequate.
  • Tim Hudak has proposed a lifetime limit on Ontario Works payments a person could receive.
  • Andrea Horwath has made no comment on poverty or social assistance.

Our campaign to increase social assistance rates to levels that enable lives of health and dignity will therefore have to continue after the provincial election. We will need to continue working together to pressure whoever wins on June 12 to put food in the budget.

We’ve designed a poster for this election that you can download here. It illustrates how the leaders are focused on their own self-interest, ignoring Ontario residents who are poor and – among other indignities – must go to food banks.

We suggest printing the poster and doing the following:

  1. Put the poster up in public in your community.
  2. Plaster the poster to the windows and doors of local candidates’ campaign offices.
  3. Print information about poverty and food banks in your community on the poster’s reverse side, and hand it out at all-candidates meetings.

At community all-candidates meetings, ask the candidates from all parties “How much money per month do you think a single person on social assistance needs to live a life of health and dignity – and what is your party’s position on raising social assistance to that level?”

Put Food in the Budget

Community Frugal Crowd Health & Wellness Videos

“Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch”: Canadian Municipalities’ National Campaign Needs Your Help

The following video presents “Michael Shapcott – Affordable Housing and Homelessness in Canada November 20, 2012.”

  • Michael Shapcott is Director of Affordable Housing and Community Innovation at the Wellesley Institute, an independent, non-profit policy, research and social enterprise / innovation institute.
    • Shapcott has worked extensively in Toronto, in many parts of Canada, nationally and internationally on housing and housing rights, poverty, social exclusion, urban health and health equity.
      • He has worked with community and municipal officials in a dozen Canadian cities to develop local housing plans.
      • Shapcott has worked with Aboriginal housing and service providers nationally and in a number of communities to develop practical and effective strategies for Aboriginal housing under Aboriginal control.
      • He is co-author, with Jack Layton, of “Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis” (Penguin, 2008) and co-editor, with David Hulchanski, of “Finding Room: Policy Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy” (CUCS Press, 2004).
    • He has worked on housing rights issues with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
      • He is co-chair of Canada’s National Housing and Homelessness Network.
      • He is active internationally with the Habitat International Coalition and has worked with community partners on housing issues in Beijing, Istanbul and Nairobi, as well as seven U.S. cities.
  • United Nations Human Rights: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Part III, Article 11 states:
    1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right
  • Duration of video is 53 minutes:40 seconds.

This is an update to the following previous blogs:

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Chair of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) meeting in Ottawa (October 28, 2013), just launched the Fixing Canada’s Housing Crunch campaign.

Community Frugal Crowd Health & Wellness

2013 Ontario Budget: Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition’s Response

isarc's image: The Ontario Government's 2013 Budget
isarc’s image: The Ontario Government’s 2013 Budget

On May 2, 2013 the Ontario government of Canada released the proposed 2013 budget to be debated at Queen’s Park over the next couple of weeks.

The provincial government has reported that the Ontario Child Benefit provides financial support that has helped lift 40,000 children out of poverty.

According to the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC):

  • The majority of Ontario children receiving social assistance benefits (67%) are in lone-mother led families
  • The provincial child poverty rate is 12.6%, or 345,000 children (using 2005 Statistics Canada data on tax income)
    • That is, one of every eight children in Ontario is living in poverty

    • The rate declined slightly from 2004 to 2005, but has been on an upward trend since 2001

    • Ontario’s child poverty rate is the fourth highest in Canada – 44% of all low-income children in Canada live in Ontario

  • Poverty rates for children in Aboriginal, racialized, new immigrant and lone mother-led families are at least double the provincial rate
  • In 2007, a single mother with one young child on social assistance had a family income that was at least $5,357 below the poverty line
  • Full-time, full-year work at Ontario’s new minimum wage of $10.25 an hour generates earnings that are approximately $3,000 below the poverty line
  • 70% of all low-income children in Ontario live in families where at least one parent is working part-time or full-time, yet the families are unable to earn enough to lift family income above the poverty line
  • Parents who are unable to be in the workforce and rely on social assistance struggle on welfare benefits that are as low now as they were in 1967
  • Average CEO salary has grown from 25 times the average Canadian income in 1980 to 250 times the average income in 2011
  • In 2009, Ontario spent $64 per person on affordable housing compared to the average among all provinces of $115 per person

Premier Kathleen Wynne highlighted the 2013 Budget’s proposed increases to the Ontario Child Benefit, which helps about one million low- to moderate-income children across the province in the following manner:

  • The Ontario government is proposing to increase the Ontario Child Benefit’s annual maximum payment by up to $210 over the next two years
    • This would raise the maximum payment from $1,100 to $1,310 per year for each child, helping parents with their family expenses

    • The Ontario Child Benefit helps low-income parents provide for their children, whether they are working or not

  • In order for parents to receive this year’s proposed increase of $110 this July, the Budget 2013 bill would have to be passed and proclaimed before July 1, 2013
    • The benefit would also increase by another $100 per year as of July 1, 2014

  • Parents don’t need to apply for the Ontario Child Benefit
    • To be eligible they must file their income taxes, register for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, have a child under age 18, and live in Ontario

The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC)‘s response to Ontario government’s 2013 budget is given in the following press release: