Ontarians with full and part-time jobs increasingly using food banks: Report


A new study says residents with full and part-time jobs are increasingly reaching out for help to put food on their tables.

Feed Ontario, which oversees Ontario's food banks, says the number of their users with jobs has gone up 27 per cent over the past three years.

Brockville and Area Food Bank Manager JoAnne Sytsma says that is reflected here at home.

"Food costs are going up, housing costs are going up," she says. "And those things directly impact how much money is left over - or not left over - for food and clothing and medicine other necessities for families."

The findings are contained in a report that tracked usage data among the 510,000 Ontarians who used a food bank between April 2018 and March 2019.

Brockville's food bank participated in the study, which is linked to the data they gather on people who walk through their doors.

Here, they see about 650 families a month. Those local numbers are "fairly steady" year-to-year, according to Sytsma.

The study points the finger at precarious or short-term jobs, which often leave employees unable to pay for their basic necessities month to month.

Sytsma agrees that they see more and more working families as clients.

"And more of our lowest income families, those on Ontario Works or disability support, are finding the struggle more difficult," she explains.

Across the province, food banks were visited over 3-million times throughout 2018, an increase from the year before. Sytsma says you have to stay focused that it's not just a number, its people.

"I still find it shocking." she says. "We had a preview a week ago and it never seizes to amaze me."



- With Files From The Canadian Press