Understanding the Link Between Welfare Policy and the Use of Food Banks

April 30, 2009
400.98 KB34 pages

This report examines who uses food banks in Canada and how food bank use relates to changes in government welfare policy. Data collected by Food Banks Canada show that food bank use increased dramatically from just over 700,000 Canadians using food banks during March 1998 to over 840,000 in March 2004. This increase occurred in spite of increases in employment rates and average wages and decreases in the number of welfare recipients over this period. Since then, the numbers using food banks have declined to levels near those in the late 1990s but this indicates that the prolonged economic boom simply by-passed a substantial number of the least well-off in our society. Now that the boom appears to be over, the number of persons using the food banks will almost certainly swell. The report makes several recommendations to help ensure that all residents have a right to adequate and appropriate food.