On May 17, Neil Hetherington, CEO, Daily Bread Food Bank, testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance about the recently announced grocery rebate as part of the 2023/24 budget.
Before the pandemic, we used to see about 60,000-65,000 food bank visits per month across our food bank network in Toronto. The pandemic doubled this to 120,000 visits, and in March 2023 we saw close to 270,000 — that is a four-fold increase.
The combination of high rates of inflation, particularly on food, ever rising rents, and stagnant incomes are causing more and more people to be unable to make ends meet.
The grocery rebate, which is a GST/HST credit top-up, will provide low- and modest-income households up to $234 for single Canadians and up to $467 for families of four.
This will certainly be helpful, but it will not reduce the rising food insecurity in our communities.
We need long-term, sustained investments in income supports, affordable housing, and decent work to eliminate poverty and food insecurity.
Watch Neil’s full testimony below.