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Expert calls for universal income amid increase in food bank usage

Last Updated May 9, 2020 at 11:34 am PDT

A file image of food bank donations. CITYNEWS
Summary

Expert in food insecurity believes universal income can help people avoid having to turn to food banks

More than three million people have lost their jobs since the crisis began

TORONTO (NEWS 1130) — An academic argues a universal basic income would be more effective when providing support to those in need.

Professor Valerie Tarasuk, with the University of Toronto, is an expert on food insecurity and says food banks are the last resort for Canadians.

She feels a universal basic income would help people avoid having to turn to food banks in the first place.

“We can think of food banks as a kind of the canary in the coal mine, that it when people end up in those places. It’s a signal to us that our system of income supports isn’t sufficient or that there’s a crack in it that’s causing some people to tumble down like that,” she says. “Because using a food bank is really a strategy of last resort. It’s not something that Canadians do easily.

More than three million people have lost their jobs since the crisis began, with many people turning to food banks.

And in the view of Tarasuk, an increase in food bank use shows that people are falling through the social safety net.

 Last month, the federal government announced 100 million dollars to help food banks, but Tarasuk says she would argue that “rather than dump money on, community charities, the better thing to do would be to step back and say okay let’s patch those holes.”