Food bank use in Ontario has skyrocketed to an unprecedented level, surging 38% in the past year, according to a report released by Feed Ontario. This staggering increase marks the highest single-year rise ever recorded, with over 800,000 people in the province relying on food banks between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023.
The report, titled “Hunger Report 2023,” compiled by Feed Ontario, a collective of hunger relief organizations, reveals that food bank visits have soared to an alarming 5.9 million, representing a 36% jump from the previous year and a staggering 101% surge compared to pre-pandemic levels.
First-time food bank visitors have also reached an all-time high, accounting for two out of every five individuals who utilized food banks last year, a 41% increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year. This alarming trend highlights the deepening food insecurity crisis in Ontario, with food bank usage relentlessly increasing for the past seven consecutive years.
The unprecedented demand for food assistance has left food banks across the province struggling to keep pace. “At what point will Ontario’s food bank network collapse?” Feed Ontario CEO Carolyn Stewart questions in the report. “This is a pressing concern for leaders in the food bank sector as we confront skyrocketing demand that far surpasses what we witnessed following the 2008 recession.”