The only way to stop the growing rate of hunger is by increasing wages, investing in income security programs, providing affordable housing and improving access to community food programs, according to a list of recommendations to be released today.
The Recession Relief Coalition is releasing 10 top recommendations that are key to combatting the troubling rise of hunger in the province. They are geared toward policy-makers at all levels of government.
“Hunger and poverty are at a crisis point,” said Dr. Gary Bloch, a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital and assistant professor with the University of Toronto, who helped draft the recommendations.
“We are facing the highest levels of food bank use and some of the highest rates of social assistance use ever,” said Bloch, noting his practice is largely comprised of people living below the poverty line and struggling for basic survival.
- Employers pay a living wage.
- Ontario implement a substantial increase to social assistance rates.
- Ottawa provide access to Employment Insurance beyond the
50-week maximum until the recession ends and lower threshold of
eligibility to 360 hours.
- Ontario maintain the Special Diet Allowance at current funding levels.
- MPs vote for Bill C-304 to enact a plan to increase safe, affordable housing.
- Food banks remove restrictions to access based on postal code, previous visits and identification.
- All levels of government include health as a measurement of impact of social policy decisions.
- All levels of government consider long-term cost to the health system of not addressing poverty now.
- Invest in community-based organizations to create food hubs.
- Governments and community-based organizations consider access to food a basic human right.