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Food bank usage in Canada is up. Way up.
In March of this year, there were nearly 1.5 million visits to food banks across the country, according to a recent report by the non-profit organization Food Banks Canada. That’s 15 per cent higher than what was seen in March 2021, and 35 per cent higher than the number of visits in March 2019.
What’s different about the rise in food bank use this year is that it comes as Canada’s unemployment rate has seen a significant decrease. In March 2022, the country’s unemployment rate sunk to 5.3 per cent — the lowest on record since data became available in 1976, according to Statistics Canada.
So what’s behind the discrepancy? The Food Banks Canada report cites high inflation, stagnant social assistance rates and the surging cost of food and housing.
With more Canadians turning to food banks to feed themselves and their families, CBC News has also seen a significant number of audience questions about the resource: how to access one, give back to one — and what happens when donations aren’t enough.