Dan Clement, President and CEO, United Way Centraide Canada 

October 17 was the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. While everyone in Canada grapples with record levels of inflation, low and moderate-income people are especially affected.  

United Way Centraide’s 211 helpline shows the human impact of these rising costs. In the first half of 2022, calls to 211 saw a 19% increase in those seeking food assistance, in comparison with the same period in 2021. And food prices aren’t the only cost increase that people in Canada are struggling with. Calls to 211 for assistance with housing and shelter were up 16% in the first half of 2022, and the number of individuals looking for mental health counselling services was up a staggering 34%.  

Millions of people in communities large and small across Canada rely on community service organizations to fill the gaps left by inadequate incomes. United Way Centraide Canada’s recommendations for the 2023 Federal Budget are grounded in our call for an equitable recovery from the pandemic. This means making direct investments in Canada’s essential community services, among other things. 

Canadians can also make a difference to address poverty and support our local community services in the face of rising costs. Let’s work together to ensure an equitable recovery for everyone in Canada. 

Read the full OpEd on The Hill Times.