The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to create its own basic income pilot project to replace the one that was prematurely cancelled by Doug Ford’s provincial government in 2018.

The national chamber adopted the resolution, which was put forward by the Hamilton and Thunder Bay Chambers of Commerce, at its annual general meeting this week.

It calls on the federal government to create a basic income pilot project and “assess the potential costs, benefits, pitfalls, challenges and outcomes of a nationwide basic income social assistance program.”

In a recent piece on the current state of food banks, Paul Taylor remarked, “We demand gratitude for what we’ve given.”

In a country where food has been recognized as a human right by the state (see the Universal Declaration on Human Rights), emergency access to food should not feel like a handout. People should not feel a sense of obligation to the person or institution who provided that food.

These historic notions of generosity and servitude are pervasive today, lingering still in the ways that we position emergency access to food as an act of charity. As long as we talk about food in the context of charity, we continue to rid the state of its responsibility to deliver on the right to food.

Remote Indigenous communities face a problem as the changing climate makes it more difficult to access traditional sources of food.

That issue, which is detailed in a new report by advocacy group Human Rights Watch, is exacerbated by the fact that many communities have a lack of alternatives that are both affordable and nutritious.

“It’s difficult for our people to access healthy foods,” Vern Cheechoo said Wednesday at a press conference that coincided with the report’s release.

The city of Edmonton is opening up its downtown convention centre to hundreds of homeless people.

The question is, will homeless people want to move there?

“The bigger question is how are we going to be able to afford it,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “We’ve been able to use some of the federal and provincial relief dollars to move outside our jurisdiction to make sure everyone has a warm place to sleep for the winter while we continue to work with senior levels of government to put long term solutions in place for housing.”

In tiny Elliott Park, a spartan municipal campground with seven gravel-topped campsites, visitors can stay for five dollars a night with no check-ins and no permits required. The Exeter, Ont., park is maintained by volunteers and operates on an honour system similar to the roadside vegetable stands that dot this community of 4,800 people in Huron County, about 40 kilometres north of London, Ont.

In 2016, complaints started about campers overstaying. Some allegedly left drugs and drug paraphernalia scattered on lots a few blocks from the busy downtown shopping district. But as the municipality moved to clean up the park and ban long-term camping in 2019, the larger community was forced to confront deeper issues that had previously festered out of sight.

Here are the numbers: according to updated data on the national poverty line (the Market Basket Measure) there are currently more than 189,000 Calgarians living below the poverty line. That’s over 12 per cent of people in our city who cannot meet their basic needs, and that’s before the pandemic started.

Early indications from the Canadian Poverty Institute show that poverty is on the rise. In Calgary, managing an economic downturn and a pandemic this year has left thousands more on the cusp of poverty.

“We know that poverty isn’t just about income,” says Meaghon Reid, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary. “As we fiscally reckon with our new reality it is vital that we commit to investing in our community through poverty reduction work. COVID-19 has presented us with a lot of harsh challenges, but it’s also presented us with an opportunity to accelerate our poverty reduction strategy.”

The number of Canadians who struggle to put good food on the table is increasing as a result of layoffs and the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, according to a new report that examined the impact food insecurity has on people’s lives.

The report, which was released Tuesday by the non-profit Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), said that before the pandemic, an estimated 4.5 million Canadians experienced food insecurity, which the non-profit defines as inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints.