Food bank use in BC increasing faster than Canadian average, say New Democrats

New statistics show the use of food banks in British Columbia is increasing twice as fast as the national average and that an increasing number of British Columbians are struggling, say the New Democrats.

“These recent numbers are unsettling and unfortunately show that life is getting harder for many people in our province,” said New Democrat social development critic Carole James.

Statistics released by Food Banks Canada Tuesday show that food bank use in British Columbia increased by 6.6 per cent – more than double the rise of 2.4 per cent across Canada.

Food Bank Canada’s 2012 Hunger Report also notes that the face of those using food banks is changing. The report shows that 11.4 per cent – or more than 1 in 10 British Columbians – who accessed services at B.C. food banks between 2011 and 2012 were employed.

James pointed out British Columbia continues to have the worst overall poverty rate in the country, and suffered under the worst child poverty rate in Canada for eight years in a row from 2003 to 2010.

“The report shows that over the last four years an increasing number of people who rely on food banks are working Canadians,” said James. “This is not a simple issue that can be fixed with band aid solutions. British Columbians deserve solutions to the problems they face today, and the Liberal government has refused to take the problem seriously.”

Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are committed to implementing a province-wide poverty reduction strategy that sets out clear targets and timelines to tackle growing inequality in British Columbia.