Home Blog June 2016 Hunger On The Hill – Parliamentarians rise to the challenge to help raise awareness

Hunger On The Hill – Parliamentarians rise to the challenge to help raise awareness

Hunger On The Hill – Parliamentarians rise to the challenge to help raise awareness
On May 18th, as food banks across the country reached out to Canadians to generously give food and funds to help feed the more than 900,000 people who will need help throughout the summer, more than 120 Parliamentarians and staff fasted for the day to raise awareness of hunger and to show solidarity with those in need.

Why did Parliamentarians fast for the day?

In a country as rich as Canada, it is easy to ignore that hunger exists in every community, in every province and territory.  While our HungerCount report clearly illustrates the scope of the problem with real numbers and data, it is easy to dismiss them as just that – numbers and data.
By personally experiencing what it’s like to be weak and tired before an 11:00 a.m. meeting, or to feel light-headed shortly after the lunch hour because you weren’t able to bring a lunch to work, the problem becomes real and visceral.

Beyond the fast – working towards long-term solutions to hunger

The hard truth is that it’s not easy to go to work or to school on an empty stomach. Yet more than 850,000 Canadians each and every month – more than a third of whom are children – need help from a food bank just to get enough to eat. 

By feeling and understanding this firsthand, Parliamentarians of all stripes have taken the first step towards recognizing the problem of hunger in Canada – and now they must act to reduce it.

While recent actions by the federal government (for example, increased investment in affordable housing and the creation of the Canada Child Benefit) are encouraging, we believe that more needs to be done to address the root causes of hunger in Canada.

Building on the recent investments in affordable housing and better supports for children, we believe governments should also focus on the following policy changes:

  • Reinstate and enhance employment and training supports for Canadians with low literacy levels.  Far too many Canadians don’t have the skills and training they need for the well-paying jobs of today and are left out of the workforce with few options for a better life.
  • Create a basic income to replace provincial social assistance programs. The current provincial welfare system is broken. Those who receive social assistance are forced into a cycle of poverty that is very difficult to climb out of.
  • Increase food security and reduce hunger in northern communities by increasing family incomes and continuing to address the high cost of living in the north.   

Food Banks Canada sincerely thanks all Parliamentarians and staff for their participation in this year’s fast. We believe it is a big step forward in raising awareness for hunger in the halls of power, where long-term policies such as those outlined above can help create a Canada where no one goes hungry.

For a full list of those participated in this year’s fast, click here

Don’t miss!

Hunger Facts



of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)