On March 20, Neil Hetherington, CEO of the Daily Bread Food Bank testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on food inflation and its impact on food insecurity.
With food inflation at 10.6% per cent as of February 2023, Canadians are struggling to put food on the table. Record food inflation is leading to greater levels of food insecurity as food bank visits continue to reach unprecedented highs.
Neil painted a vivid picture of how Daily Bread, and food banks across Canada are reaching their breaking point. In February 2020, there were 68,000 visits to Daily Bread food banks in the network. Just last month, in February 2023, this number had tripled to over 215,000.
While reaffirming the importance of existing income support programs to the Standing Committee, Neil spoke about the gaps in our social safety net, particularly for single individuals who have very few income supports available to them beyond social assistance, where rates fall below the deep poverty line in every province.
Food is a human right and charities cannot meet this need. It is critical that governments, the duty-bearers, take up the call to action and end hunger in our communities.
We need all orders of governments to act to ensure that all Canadians can afford to put food on the table and that their right to food is realized.