Canadians using food banks remains near record highs

The number of Canadians using food banks has fallen off slightly but still remains near record highs almost four years after the end of the economic recession.

The annual study, conducted by Food Banks Canada, shows that during one snapshot month earlier this year, more than 833-thousand people relied on food handouts compared to 872-thousand the previous March.

More than one-third of them were children.

Low-income jobs are the culprit, the report found, as well as roadblocks on the path to employment insurance and social assistance – and the paltry incomes provided by those programs once disadvantaged Canadians are able to access them.

The annual HungerCount study provides one of the most up-to-date national indicators of poverty.

This year’s report found that more than half of those turning to food banks are families with children.

Twelve per cent of households asking for help were currently employed, while another five per cent were recently employed.

Eleven per cent of those using food banks self-identify as First Nations, Metis or Inuit, and another 11 per cent are new immigrants to Canada.