New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that provides direct funding to food banks, and this year a new program, the Community Food Resource Support Program, was introduced.

An evaluation committee was created to assess grant applications, and funding was allocated to each applicant based on New Brunswick’s food insecurity statistics, the Food Banks Canada Hunger Count, and additional information provided by each food bank to demonstrate their need, explained Department of Social Development communications officer, Anne Mooers.

The grant program was reviewed in collaboration with the New Brunswick Association of Food Banks, in response to their concerns that the previous program was not equal, and not transparent enough.

Every food bank received at least 90 per cent of the funding they requested. The program was redesigned with changes to criteria, and the review process to ensure that funding is available to all eligible food banks, and that it will respond to the individual circumstances of food banks on an annual basis.

One stereotypical knock against conservatives who speak in the language of economics, especially if they focus on deficits, debts and taxes, is that they couldn’t care less about the poor.

The most recent example comes from federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Scheer, for those who missed it, edged out a narrow victory against Maxime Bernier in May in the contest for leader of the Conservative party. Scheer did so by promising to protect “supply management” for Canada’s dairy and poultry farmers. That had particular resonance in Quebec and delivered Scheer to victory courtesy of what columnist Terence Corcoran called “fake Conservatives”.

Among the most important facts to know about poverty is that almost all poor people work. But the employers for whom they work, constituting a huge portion of the total economy, do not pay them enough to get by, forcing them to choose between making next month’s rent or replacing the clothes their children have grown out of.

In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, Ottawa reported that the income of an estimated 4.5 million Canadians – about 13 per cent of the total population, or more than one in 10 Canadians – falls below the government’s “low income measure,” the broadest definition of poverty. (Unlike the U.S., which has a schedule of official poverty rates, Canada calculates poverty using income thresholds.)

There’s been a lot of resistance by some businesses and lobby groups to the Ontario government’s plans to hike the province’s minimum wage to $15/hour. They claim it will cost employers $13 billion over two years and put many jobs “at risk.”

What they haven’t mentioned is that corporate profits in Ontario are now at record levels and at all-time record shares of the economy. Meanwhile, wage increases continue to stumble along at rates close to inflation, which means no real wage increases at all for most workers.

The province is providing $6 million to help provide additional housing and support for individuals who have been homeless, or who are at risk of homelessness, in Kelowna.

The money will go towards the purchase and renovation of the Kelowna Good Night Inn, located at 2639 Highway 97 North.

Once renovated, the 42-unit building will support some of the area’s most vulnerable citizens, and will include some capacity to add shelter spaces during extreme weather conditions.

The former motel will be operated by the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, which will provide support services to create successful tenancies for the residents.

“We know that when people have a roof over their head, they actually have a chance to improve their quality of life in areas of health, mental health, substance use and employment,” said Shelagh Turner, executive director of the Kelowna branch of the CMHA.

The City of Vancouver, in the context of its “Housing Reset” initiative, has set a goal of 20 per cent affordable housing for new construction. This is a laudable goal, but it makes you wonder about the other 80 per cent. Is our collective ambition to have a city where only one out of five of us can afford to live? And who are those other 80 per cent anyway?

Let’s take a step back in history. In both Canada and the United States the “20 per cent affordable” target has come out of a somewhat wonkish process. First you assume that the market can supply housing to 80 per cent of the employed and able bodied. That leaves 20 per cent that the market can’t reach and thus need a helping hand from the state.

That strategy has worked OK in most metropolitan areas. In most metro areas in the U.S. and Canada there was a firm relationship between the average family income in the region and the average cost of housing.

But we all know that here in Vancouver that is no longer true. Our average cost of housing is about three to four times higher than it should be if you use average family income as your measuring stick.

So while a housing strategy that targets 20 per cent affordable housing might make sense in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is clearly not calibrated to the enormity of the task at hand here in Vancouver, where the majority of working residents need affordable housing, not just 20 per cent.

In our Wednesday editorial about Social Planning Cowichan’s 2017 Living Wage Comparison we focused mainly on what it takes to maintain a family of four (two parents and two children).

The reality is that there are many other kinds of households in the Cowichan Valley and we applaud SPC for including numbers specific to some of them as a new feature in this year’s report.

So how are singles, and single parents on minimum wage faring?

In a word, badly.