The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the financial well-being of many families in Atlantic Canada.
Feed Nova Scotia executive director Nick Jennery says the situation has reached alarming levels.
“Every day 20,000 pounds of food have to leave this facility,” said Jennery, who added that this food is intended for 140 frontline agencies that are operating at full capacity to help feed the food insecure people. . “Which is 15 percent of the population and is unacceptably high.”
New statistics released by the BDO Accessibility Index highlight even greater concerns about the pandemic.
Atlantic Canada has seen 31 percent of its population experience food shortages. More than half (53 percent) say housing costs are a challenge and 15 percent of those living in this area have incurred credit card debt for the first time.
“The poll showed a larger divide between the haves and have-nots across Canada,” said Jeff Lewis of BDO Debt Solutions. “The Atlantic provinces fall under the definition of the have-not.”
Lewis said the root of the problem is obviously the pandemic, which has hit millions of Canadians hard. The negative impact has been disproportionately higher in this region.
“78% of Atlantic Canadians say the pandemic is having a devastating effect on their finances and standard of living,” said Lewis.
Jennery added that these dire economic circumstances are putting enormous financial and psychological pressure on families.
“It might be towards the end of the month,” Jennery said. “Do I pay my rent? Do I put food on the table? But I can’t afford to do both.”
Lewis said the best-case scenario is for the pandemic to end and the financial situation to improve.
“If you are struggling, there is hope for you,” Lewis said.
Lewis pointed out that there are private sector and government resources available to help people work around financial difficulties.