Canadian food bank use has risen sharply to the highest levels on record over the past two years, a report stated Tuesday.

A Food Banks Canada report has found that almost 900,000 people - 9.2 per cent higher than a year earlier – used food banks in March.

While the report said the recession is the reason for this increase – people who lost their jobs have not been able to find new ones or their new jobs don't pay enough to sustain them – in Ottawa, the increase that Peter Tilley has seen is “not so much driven by the economy as the cold weather.”


The Ottawa Food Bank, where Tilley is the executive director, has saw a 13 to 16 per cent increase in January, February and March 2010 from the same period in 2009.

“Ottawa hasn’t been hit as hard, but with the utilities costs, we’re dreading what’s going to happen this year, given the hydro costs,” said Tilley. “We think the winter months are going to be a huge challenge for families who live close to the margin. They’re going to have no choice but to go to a food bank.”

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