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Quebec adds $8 million to food banks coffers


Faced with worsening food insecurity, Quebec is extending another $8 million to food banks in the province, bringing total assistance to $18 million, the amount the group initially requested.

On Wednesday, La guignolée des médias unveiled a Léger survey showing that one in three people will have experienced some form of food insecurity at least once in 2023, a jump of 10 percentage points compared to 2020.

In light of these worrying findings, Chantal Rouleau, the minister responsible for social solidarity and community action, announced on Thursday that the $8 million requested by Les Banques alimentaires du Québec would be added to the budget.

In his economic update a month ago, Finance Minister Eric Girard announced $10 million in aid for Quebec's food banks, while adding another $11 million for organizations, most of which are dedicated to feeding children at school.


In a press scrum in Quebec City, Rouleau suggested that the pressure exerted by teachers' unions was depriving children of these meals at school, forcing Quebec to act urgently: "But right now, schools are closed, so that puts even more pressure on food banks, and we want to make sure that no Quebecer goes without food."

Asked to clarify her thoughts, Rouleau added: "I don't want to put the blame on anyone, but there is a situation where there is extra pressure on food banks. Children are at home or are in places where extra help is needed for (food) banks."

Rouleau explained that the money will be used to buy food that will be redistributed to the 1,200 or so food counters across Quebec.


However, she pointed out that the total amount of $18 million paid by Quebec to the Quebec food banks will not be recurrent: "We're in an emergency situation, and we want to be able to have all the tools we need for long-term measures. Adding money to Banques alimentaires Québec so that it can buy food is not, in my opinion, a sustainable measure."

The minister said, "it is important not to be in a constant state of emergency. We must have a game plan" in the fight against poverty.

She added that this game plan, which is currently being drawn up, will include "an important part to ensure food security, that we no longer talk about insecurity, but about food security and ensuring that the needs of the population are properly met."

"What we've already said is that we don't want people here in Quebec to run out of food. That's out of the question," said Rouleau.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 7, 2023. Top Stories

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