Canadians donate approximately 100 million kilograms of food each year to food banks but studies reveal the biggest problem for the more than four million Canadians experiencing food insecurity isn’t access to food but income insecurity.
“The public face of food insecurity always has been and continues to be food banks,” said University of Toronto professor Valerie Tarasuk. “There is a gigantic disconnect and that is what we see when we are doing the smaller community studies. Food bank numbers grossly understate the depth of the problem.”
Speaker Mike Balkwill, provincial director for the social assistance reform campaign Put Food in the Budget expressed many of the same views and concerns. He said precariousness is built in to the present economic system and encouraged people to pressure politicians to take action.
“Food banks are not enough,” said Balkwill. “There is no reason in a society as wealthy as Ontario and Canada that people should not have enough money for food. People ask the question, ‘Is government listening’ and the answer is, of course they aren’t listening. Power holders respond to pressure and issues that will lead to them getting votes.”