Kitchener-Waterloo

Town hall on hunger reveals income gap as major issue in Guelph, MP says

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield spent Monday night hearing from Guelph residents on food insecurity and hunger as part of a strategy to tackle the issues at a federal level.

MP Lloyd Longfield says one of biggest issues in food insecurity is income gap

Over the past five years, Guelph Food Bank has seen the number of people who need help nearly double, and one in 20 households use a food bank in Waterloo region. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC News)

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield spent Monday night hearing from Guelph residents on food insecurity and hunger as part of a strategy to tackle the issues at a federal level. 

Over the past five years, Guelph Food Bank has seen the number of people who need help nearly double, and one in 20 households use a food bank in Waterloo region. 

Longfield hosted a community town hall about food insecurity at the Italian Canadian Club, in Guelph, to gather recommendations to bring to the federal government. 

He said the recommendations are to help inform policy that will "make sure all Canadians have access to affordable, safe, nutritious food."  

Income gap as underlying issue

The town hall heard from three experts, and Lloyd said one of the biggest issues that emerged was income insecurity. 

"Food is affordable if you're making money," said Longfield. "So how do we get people into a better economic situation?"

Residents who attended were also given a chance to ask questions. One woman said her total costs of rent and food amounted to $1,200, but she was only getting $900 a month on disability support.  

She asked how the federal government was going to address that gap.

"The math doesn't work," said Longfield, adding there's a national housing and homeless strategy in place, but the food strategy is still in the works. 

Food Secure Canada has suggested a basic income for Canadians to address the problem, but the Liberals have not done a feasibility study on that idea. 

Longfield said the delay lies in the co-ordination between the federal government and provincial jurisdictions. 

"It's an issue that has to be dealt with with provinces and territories at the same time, so it is something we are working on in the background," said Longfield.

You can hear more about how Longfield plans to tackle food insecurity at the federal level below:

With files from Kate Bueckert

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