Toronto was recently ranked as the best city in the world to live by the Economist. As the General Election approaches new statistics reveal that capitalism is still failing to meet people’s needs in Toronto. Last year, nearly 900,000 people visited a Toronto food bank. That is a 12 per cent increase since the 2008 recession.
27 per cent of people using a food bank for less than six months reported it was due to job loss, while 20 per cent reported they were new to the area, and 19 per cent reported being disabled.
Housing costs represent an average 71 per cent of income of food bank clients surveyed.
“Now, more than ever, the lack of affordable housing (in the city) needs to be addressed. Affordable housing benefits need to be considered,” said Richard Matern, Daily Bread’s senior manager of research, said. Home prices in Toronto have climbed 78 per cent in the past decade, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Average rent in the city has gone up too, by 18.1 per cent for a two-bedroom apartment in that time, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Average rent in Toronto is $1,026 with utilities, according to the Canadian Rental Housing Index. The current rate for a single person receiving social assistance is $656 per month; for singles getting disability payments (ODSP) it is $1,098.
Average monthly income among those coming to food banks in Toronto is $763, Daily Bread says, meaning that after rent and utilities are paid, people are left with $6.67 on average to pay for everything else, including food, transportation and prescriptions. Ryan Noble, executive director of North York Harvest Food Bank explained North York food bank’s clients “If they have to take transit, that money is gone,” he said. “It limits their ability to go to a job, to buy school supplies for their children, to buy medicine.”
Respondents who gave up a meal in the past three months to pay for something else: 55 per cent
Top items they skipped meals for: Rent: 36 per cent; Phone: 19 per cent; Transportation: 19 per cent; Utilities: 10 per cent
Respondents who did not eat for an entire day: 35 per cent
Respondents whose children went hungry at least once a week: 16 per cent
Respondents who went hungry at least once a week in the past three months due to lack of money: 38 per cent
To make a permanent fundamental change to this dog-eat-dog society contact the Socialist Party of Canada