This annual Food Banks Canada report provides a point in time snapshot of food bank use in Canada. The 2021 report demonstrates that food bank use in Canada remains at unacceptably high levels. While food banks are finding new and innovative ways to provide healthy, nutritious food and a wide variety of services to support those they serve, only long-term policy solutions can address the root causes of hunger in Canada.

The report is cross-sectional, documenting food bank use through a census survey of most food bank agencies, organizations and programs, within and outside of the Food Banks Canada network.

Overall findings:

  • Food bank visits have increased by over 20 percent since 2019, with over 1.3 million visits to food banks in March 2021 alone.
  • One-third of food bank clients are children.
  • Single-person households remain the most common household type accessing food banks.
  • Increases in need were not seen equally across the board.
  • Food banks in larger population centres are seeing a new wave of need.
  • A strong undercurrent of need persists in smaller urban centres and rural areas, as people with disabilities and seniors struggle with rapidly rising costs of living.
  • A volatile combination of rising food prices, housing costs, and low incomes has created a “perfect storm” that is driving up the number of visits to food banks.
  • The percentage of people who identified as Indigenous accessing food banks dropped significantly from 2019.
  • Food banks nationwide have continued to adapt to the ongoing pandemic, both by changing their service models and by enabling greater frequency of access for clients.

2021 report recommendations:

  • New supports for renters living with low incomes
  • Modernize and expand supports for low wage and unemployed workers
  • A path forward where no Canadian is left behind (progress toward a minimum income floor)
  • Increase supports for low-income single adults
  • Enhance measures to reduce northern food insecurity

Publication Date:  2021

Published By: Food Banks Canada

Click here to access the full report: Hunger Count

Click here to access Food Banks Canada provincial data  

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