Good food reads 05/15/2019

Canada Child Benefit helped reduce severe food insecurity, U of T study finds​
A new study from Proof at the University of Toronto looked at the impact of the Canada Child Benefit on food insecurity and found the rate of severe food insecurity among low-income families dropped by one third following the introduction of the CCB. From the piece: "Our study results are yet another piece of evidence that improving household incomes reduces food insecurity​."

Why we should treat loneliness as a public health issue
Dr. Andrew Boozary, Executive Director of Health and Social Policy at the University Health Network, was on Metro Morning making the case for why we need to start looking at loneliness as a societal issue and as a symptom of issues like poverty and inequality. From the segment: "Really the issue of loneliness is a symptom of growing income and political inequality that we're seeing. ...This is a societal problem where you look at us as a country — something that we don't talk about often — but when you compare us to other wealthy nations, the OECD comparators, we're top five on the issue of income inequality. I think that growing divide where there's been more and more precarious work, challenges of poverty, for growing number of the population and also issues where people feel there's not as much opportunity for political voice or disenfranchisement — all of that. Loneliness is a constellation of things."

Who's Hungry 2019
The Daily Bread Food Bank, in conjunction with the Mississauga Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank, has released the 2019 edition of the Who's Hungry report. It finds food bank use in the Toronto region is growing at twice the rate of population growth and that hunger is a symptom of poverty with many people having little money left over for food with rising housing costs and stagnating wages. From the report: "Hunger is a symptom of poverty. It a public policy issue that cannot be outsourced to charity. As the number of food bank visits continue to rise, food banks struggle to meet the ever- growing demand. Realizing the right to food does not mean that the government is required to provide food directly to each citizen. Rather, it means that our federal, provincial, and municipal governments are responsible for creating an environment in which people have the physical and economic means and agency to access adequate food."

‘They Go to Work, Come Back, and Starve.’ Why Immigrant Families Are Avoiding Food Assistance
Civil Eats looks at why immigrant families are avoiding food assistance programs, finding that they are worried it would hinder their ability to get a green card. That's because of proposed changes from the Trump administration to the "public charges" rule that would add food assistance programs, including SNAP to the list of programs that would make someone a public charge and led to the rejection of their green card application. From the piece: "We heard stories of families who are limiting trips to the grocery store, or not being able to access food because of fear of leaving the house. There’s a way in which the broader environment connects to an amplified food insecurity for immigrants.

Stop treating people on welfare like criminals. Report calls for Ontario to take new approach
A new report from Ontario 360, a think tank at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, says Ontario should stop treating people on welfare like criminals and forcing them to complete useless tasks that don’t lead to meaningful, long-term jobs. It argues that the province should move to annual reporting for social assistance programs in line with benefits delivered through the tax system, like the Canada Child Benefit. From the report: "Low benefit rates leave people in deep poverty, and program rules create barriers to their participating in the labour force and improving their lives."