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Report Released: A Roadmap for Change – input needed before January 2, 2018

A new report called “Income Security: A Roadmap for Change” has just been released by the provincial government.

The Roadmap was written by three groups that were appointed by the Minister of Community and Social Services (MCSS) in 2016 to give advice to the government on how to reform Ontario’s income security system.

Former Daily Bread board member John Stapleton was a member of the Income Security Reform Working Group, one of the three groups that contributed to the report.

We urge everyone to read the Roadmap, engage with its recommendations, and participate in the public consultation process. Public consultation will take place between now and January 2, 2018.

The Roadmap is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/income-security-reform

The government’s press release is here: https://news.ontario.ca/mcss/en/2017/11/working-groups-deliver-roadmap-for-income-security-reform.html

The government is asking people to provide feedback in writing. Information about the feedback process is here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/income-security-reform#section-5

The Roadmap makes some important recommendations, including large increases to social assistance rates, making the system less punitive, and the implementation of an Ontario Housing Benefit.

This is an important opportunity to push government to action, and make real change that can have an impact on people struggling with hunger in Toronto.


Date Added: November 17, 2017 | Filed under: Blog, Government, News, Research — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 8:08 am



Portable Housing Benefit

Daily Bread joins the call for a National Portable Housing Benefit program in the National Housing Strategy

Daily Bread has joined the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH), United Way Centraide Canada, Raising the Roof , Campaign 2000 and other leading Canadian anti-poverty organizations to call on the federal government to include a National Portable Housing Benefit in the upcoming National Housing Strategy.

In a letter sent to the Hon. Jean Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the group called on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to launch a national portable housing benefit that starts by assisting those with greatest need, particularly households currently spending more than 50% of on housing and Canadians experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Rent is the single biggest expense for those accessing food banks in Toronto: food bank clients spend, on average, 71% of their income on rent. Direct assistance for renters would help households most in need, complement social housing, and provide a flexible benefit that renters can use regardless of where they live — all without adding pressure to the already-heated rental market that exists in cities like Toronto. Rental assistance is also an essential element to any effort to prevent and end homelessness.

Read the full text of the letter to Minister Duclos.

What could a National Portable Housing Benefit look like?

Daily Bread has been working closely with a number of national partner organizations in the National Housing Collaborative on a proposal to the federal government of what a National Portable Housing Benefit could encompass. In a detailed proposal recently submitted to the federal government, the NHC proposed a single, harmonized and co-funded federal-provincial-territorial program that provides rent assistance directly to tenants in need.

It’s important to note that our housing benefit proposal is designed to be complementary to, not a replacement for, affordable and social housing investment. Canada has a severe affordable housing crisis which requires both construction of new housing and a means to immediately address the urgent housing affordability needs of Canadians.

Read the full National Housing Collaborative, National Portable Housing Benefit proposal.


Date Added: September 12, 2017 | Filed under: Blog, Government, In the News, Information, News, Research — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 3:40 pm



20 Years of Impact

This year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Daily Bread are marking 20 years of working together to help Torontonians in need.

“Life circumstances can change without warning, and what Daily Bread does is vital to help people move from tough times into a better future,” says Gaylen Duncan, Country Operating Officer for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Thanks to Bank of America for their dedication, passion and generous support – and for two decades of better futures!

To read the latest issue of our Food for Thought newsletter please click here.


Date Added: September 7, 2017 | Filed under: Blog, News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 9:53 am



It’s tax time: are people on low incomes getting all the benefits they’re entitled to?

For thousands accessing food banks across Toronto, lack of income is the key driver of hunger. Clients on average spend 71 per cent of their income on rent, which leaves little for food and other necessities. For many, an extra hundred dollars or more a month could mean the difference between being able to afford groceries or having to access a food bank, being able to pay rent without skipping meals, or not needing to access a food bank as frequently.

While much needs to be done to improve and strengthen our social safety net and income security system, there is extra income that is already available through our tax system, but receiving these benefits is dependent on people filing their taxes.

Food banks can help remove barriers to accessing extra income

Sometimes people don’t file their taxes because they are not aware of the benefits to them, or may encounter other barriers due to the complexity and administrative requirements involved. Unfortunately, people on low incomes are losing out on potentially thousands of dollars of additional income because of these barriers.

Recognizing the barriers many low income people face in getting the benefits from tax filing, some food banks and other member agencies of Daily Bread Food Bank provide tax clinics and other tax filing assistance for their clients. With targeted outreach and administrative and technological support, many more low income people could be receiving all the benefits they’re entitled to receive.

Daily Bread Food Bank member agencies such as The Bluffs, New Toronto Street Food Bank, St. James Food Basket, Toronto West SDA, and Native Canadian Centre among many others offer tax filing assistance. These member agencies are similar to many other community tax clinics that provide trained volunteers, many through the Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), which help people file their taxes through one on one support. Through continued outreach such as this, hopefully more people who are less likely to file taxes will be able to do so, and be informed of all the benefits to which they’re entitled.

Who’s filing – and who’s not filing – by the numbers

In 2013 Daily Bread’s Who’s Hungry survey found that 72 per cent of respondents accessing food banks across the GTA had filed their income taxes that year.1 While it is good news that nearly three quarters of respondents filed their taxes and are getting the benefits they are entitled to, there are more than 25 per cent of clients who are potentially missing out. And despite outreach efforts to inform people of these benefits, newer strategies may be needed to reach those who are less likely to file.

The Maytree Foundation recently published a piece entitled “Filing taxes brings major benefits to people on low incomes”. The article, which will be referenced throughout this report, noted that while provincial and federal tax benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit, Old Age Security, and GST/HST credits can cumulatively add up to thousands of dollars of additional income for low income households, many miss out because they either don’t file or are not aware of what they’re eligible to apply for or even how to apply.

Of those who do not file, the Who’s Hungry survey found that certain demographic groups accessing food banks were less likely to file than others.2 They include single people, households receiving social assistance as a main form of income, and recent newcomers who have been in Canada for more than a year but less than four years. These groups are not mutually exclusive, and many issues they face overlap. Highlighting those groups who are less likely to file may help to provide some insight as to what some potential barriers to filing might be and where more outreach may be needed.

Single person households

Single Person Household Bar Chart

Single person households are significantly less likely to have filed their taxes, with 69 per cent filing a tax return the previous year compared to 75 per cent for other household types.

Of all household types, working age single person households without children have the least amount of pre-retirement tax credits available to them, unlike households with children who can access various child tax benefits, including the Ontario Child Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. For single people living on low income, there may be less incentive to file taxes due to lack of awareness of the benefits that are available to them even if they had no employment income the previous year.

Social assistance as a main source of income

Bar 2

People receiving social assistance as their main form of income are also significantly less likely to have filed their taxes the previous year, with 70 per cent reporting that they filed compared with 78 per cent not receiving social assistance as their main form of income. Respondents who were not receiving social assistance as their main form of income were receiving other sources such as employment, pensions, or child tax benefits.

In addition to the misperception that if they don’t owe income tax there is little reason to file, people receiving social assistance may face other barriers. In Maytree’s article, it was noted that since the CRA is promoting electronic filing the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities or those who don’t have high-speed internet or a computer, may pose barriers. Clients living on social assistance spend the vast majority of their income on rent and utilities, and some may not be able to afford to have high speed internet at home.

The article also noted that “people with low incomes experiencing challenges or who have complex tax situations may need hands-on help to tax file, but can’t afford paid tax advisors and may not know where to turn for free help it it’s available in their community.”

Recent newcomers

Bar 3

Recent newcomers, for the purposes of this analysis defined as being in Canada for four years or less (but here for more than one year), are less likely to have filed their taxes. Fifty-seven per cent of recent newcomers filed their taxes the previous year, versus 76 per cent of those who are not recent newcomers.

The barriers faced by recent newcomers are similar to those faced by others, including lack of awareness of available benefits, cost, and lack of knowledge of the system that affect their ability to access a range of services beyond just financial ones. Limited knowledge of English could be another reason, with a previous study by Daily Bread noting that those who did not have a good command of the language were less likely to file.

Despite being more likely to file their taxes, low income seniors are still not receiving all the benefits they’re entitled to

Bar 4

According to the 2013 Who’s Hungry survey, respondents who were seniors 65 or older were significantly more likely to have filed their taxes: 85 per cent filed the previous year compared to 71 per cent who were not seniors. However, only 11 per cent were receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors, even though many more were likely eligible. The most recent Who’s Hungry survey for 2016 did not ask a question about tax filing, but the number of seniors accessing the GIS had not significantly changed.

The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is part of a basic income-type program that exists for seniors in Canada. Low income seniors qualify for the GIS if they are receiving the Old Age Security pension (OAS), and have an annual income lower than a set threshold ($17,544 annually for a single person household, or approximately $1,500 per month). They also need to have resided in Canada for at least 10 years in order to receive it.

The Maytree report referenced an evaluation by Human Resources and Development Canada, which estimated that while 87 per cent of eligible seniors are accessing the GIS, there are potentially 200,000 more who may be missing out.

Food bank clients who are seniors provide some insight as to the circumstances of those who are not receiving the benefit.

Chart

The median monthly income reported by Who’s Hungry survey respondents 65 and over is $1,200 per month, which from a financial standpoint make them eligible for the GIS. While three quarters of survey respondents were not born in Canada, the vast majority – 74 per cent – have lived here at least 10 years or more which would make also them eligible due to their length of residence in Canada.

In order to receive the GIS, a senior must specifically request it when applying for OAS. While a much higher percentage of senior respondents (50%) reported that they were receiving OAS, it’s still possible that some are not applying for that source of income as well even though they’re entitled to it.

Because the application process for both OAS and GIS can be administratively complex without some assistance, language barriers may be a factor for some seniors in Toronto not accessing it. Fifty-one per cent of seniors reported not speaking English as their main language at home. Other seniors who have just turned 65 may not have applied in time, and are still receiving social assistance (either Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program) despite being qualified to receive seniors’ benefits that could increase their income by hundreds of dollars a month.

“Tax-filing is a proven way to improve the financial situation of Canadians with low incomes, but has yet to be fully exploited as a means to reduce poverty in Canada.”

– U. Bajwa


Further reading

Accessing Income-Boosting Benefits Through Tax Filing – U. Bajwa for Prosper Canada

Filing Your First Tax Return in Canada: Free Resources For Newcomers – Toronto Public Library

As a doctor, here’s why I’m prescribing tax returns. Seriously. – Gary Bloch, Globe and Mail


1 The results from the 2013 Who’s Hungry survey are based on 1680 interviews conducted with people accessing food banks across the GTA.

2 Chi square analyses were conducted for the results in this report, with significance at the .05 level.


Date Added: March 31, 2017 | Filed under: Blog, Information, News, Research — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 2:07 pm



Top Five Team’s Needed for Daily Bread’s Food Sort Challenge

Daily Bread’s Food Sort Challenge is on November 16th and we’re looking for the best teams to compete. People struggling with hunger across Toronto are relying on you to sort 4,000 lbs of food as fast as possible. There are only a few spots left and Daily Bread needs your help.

Here are the top five teams Daily Bread needs to compete in the Food Sort Challenge:

1) Team Speedy
If you blink, you may miss it – a speedy team will finish the Food Sort Challenge before you know it. Teams will compete to sort the quickest in less than two hours. Keep an eye out, because if you don’t move fast enough, Team Speedy will snatch first place.

2) Team Energy
Your hands may be quick but do you have the endurance? A team with energy will keep their spirits high and their body moving when they are tired. This team can outlast others, making them a formidable opponent.

3) Team Winners
If you think like a winner you are a winner. It’s always important for teams to come in with the right mindset. Believing in yourself will help push your team forward and win the Food Sort Challenge.

4) Team Strategy
Strategic food sorters have the potential to outsmart other teams. Make sure you have a sharp mind because the Food Sort Challenge is more than which team is the fastest. Team strategy will discover the most efficient way to sort food – whether an assembly line or great teamwork.

5) Team Cheaters (just kidding)
All Food Sort Challenge teams are expected to compete fairly, and most importantly, have fun! The Food Sort Challenge and any donations raised will help support 142 member agencies and 200 meal programs across Toronto. Registration fee is $1100 per team. We are also asking all teams to fundraise for an opportunity to get closer to the title. Register now and secure your team before it’s too late!

Does your team have what it takes to come out on top?

Don’t wait – there are limited spots! We are also asking all teams to fundraise for an opportunity to get closer to the title. Register now and secure your team before it’s too late!

Click here to register!

For more information, please contact Dayana at Dayana@dailybread.ca.


Date Added: October 24, 2016 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News — Tags: , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 1:16 pm



Volunteer for Daily Bread!

Make an impact and help fight hunger in your community!

Daily Bread is currently offering volunteer positions throughout our organization. We are looking for receptionists as well as Fundraising Donor Clerks. Each of these positions play a very large role in our operation and help us continue to fight hunger all year round.


Receptionist

Receptionists serve as Daily Bread ambassadors and as an important resource for food bank clients. The Receptionist volunteers in a fast-paced environment to provide front-line support to the daily operations of Daily Bread Food Bank. This position serves visitors by greeting, welcoming and directing them appropriately, notifies staff of visitor arrivals and helps to maintain security and telecommunications systems. To read more about the job description and how to apply please click the button below.

Click here for more information


Fundraising Donor Clerk

As an integral part of the Fundraising and Development team, the Fundraising Donor Clerk will be responsible for the accurate entry of data in a high-paced environment to update donor records, and will provide customer service for donors. To read more about the job description and how to apply please click the button below.

Click here for more information


If you have any questions or for more information please click here to contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Individuals & Corporate Groups, Jeff Wong.


Date Added: September 8, 2016 | Filed under: Blog, News, Volunteer, Volunteer Opportunities — Tags: , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 11:36 am



Sign up for the Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts today!

UPDATE December 15 10:21 a.m.: The Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts are full.

Don’t worry – if you weren’t able to register for a spot but you were really hoping to help Daily Bread Food Bank, there are many other ways to support Daily Bread and the Holiday Drive!

1. Donate! Drop off non-perishable food donations to your local fire hall. Make a gift online. Help us reach our goals of $2.5 million and 1 million pounds of food by December 31.

2. Run a food drive or event! It’s easy, and we can help. Run a food drive at your school or in your workplace. Having a holiday party? Why not ask guests to bring a non-perishable food donation instead of a gift?

3. Volunteer throughout the year. While we need people to help sort through the Holiday Drive food donations, we also need volunteers throughout the year. It doesn’t stop just because the holidays are over! Consider volunteering during March Break. Taking a stay-cation with the family this summer? Why not sign up to volunteer?

___________________________________________________________________

Starting at 10 a.m. this morning, registration for the Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts will open up online here: Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts

This year’s Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts will be held on Christmas Eve morning, as well as Monday, December 28 and Tuesday, December 29. For more information on shifts and how to register, please click here.

Can’t make it? The Holiday Drive is already underway! You can donate non-perishable food and drop it off at any fire hall across Toronto, or directly to Daily Bread’s warehouse at 191 New Toronto Street.

To make a monetary donation please click here.


Date Added: December 14, 2015 | Filed under: Blog, Holiday Drive, News — Tags: , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 11:04 am



High School Students, Take Action This Summer!

Are you a high school student looking to give back to the community? Students volunteering at Daily Bread

Daily Bread is offering a number of volunteers positions for high school students through our Take Action Project.

Students participating in the program will have an opportunity to come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout July and August to help out with a variety of on-going tasks and projects. New this year, in addition to regular volunteering opportunities, we have unpaid internships students can apply for in the Growing for Change Community Garden, New Toronto Street Food Bank, Reception and Food Services (working in our kitchen preparing, cleaning and serving food).

You must be a high school student who is at least 15, and you must sign up in advance. To find out more about this summer’s Take Action Project and how you can get involved click here, or email learn@dailybread.ca.


Date Added: June 7, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, News, Volunteer Opportunities — Tags: , , — Anderson @ 2:39 pm



Holiday Drive short thousands of pounds of food

As people gear up for this season of giving, Daily Bread is asking people to think about their neighbours in need this holiday. With only 375,000 pounds of food donated, Daily Bread’s Holiday Drive has just over two weeks to raise 625,000 pounds to meet its goal of one million pounds of food.

“There are so many people right now organizing events, food drives or donating to help people in this city who are hungry and I am so grateful to them,” said Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread’s executive director. Daily Bread is hoping the people of Toronto can help make a difference by donating food or money to the Holiday Drive, which ends on December 31.

“We’re also looking to raise $1.5 million and we’re now at just over a million dollars. What has me the most concerned is how behind in food donations we are. They’re trickling in, but we need a lot more to make sure our shelves are full this winter,” said Nyberg. “I’m hoping that while people are out grocery shopping this weekend for Christmas dinner, they’ll think about picking up a bit extra for those who need it most. And if we can’t reach our food goal, I’m hoping we can exceed our financial goal so that we can use the money to make up for the shortfall in food donations.”

Nutritious, non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at local fire halls, Loblaws, No Frills, valu-mart or a participating grocery store. Most needed food items include: pasta, dried/canned beans or lentils, rice, canned fruit and vegetables, baby formula and food, tomato sauce, peanut butter and canned or powdered milk. Daily Bread does not receive any funding from the United Way.

Financial donations can be made easily and securely online at www.dailybread.ca or by mailing a cheque to Daily Bread Food Bank, 191 New Toronto St., Toronto, Ontario, M8V 2E7.


Date Added: December 19, 2012 | Filed under: Blog, Holiday Drive, News — Tags: , , — Anderson @ 9:47 am