A new report says the number of households in Ontario turning to food banks for the first time has shot up by 20 per cent since last year.
The report from the Ontario Association of Food Banks found just over 17,000 households used food banks for the first time this March compared with 14,200 last year.
Association spokeswoman Amanda King says the huge jump is likely a reflection of the growing number of lower-paying part-time jobs that are changing the employment landscape in Ontario.
The report notes that, over all, Ontario's food banks were used by just under 375,000 people in March – which was actually down slightly from March of last year.
But King says there are still far too many people going hungry.
The report urges the provincial government to implement a monthly Ontario housing benefit for low income tenants based on their rent and income.
It also recommends an increase in payments and updates to Ontario's social assistance programs.