Salvation Army Survey Finds Increasing Numbers of Canadians Facing Financial Hardship 

Woman in winter wear receives food at salvation army food
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Food security challenges, concerns over having enough income to cover their basic needs are top of mind for many Canadians.

TORONTO, Dec. 12, 2022 – A new survey from The Salvation Army finds that as the country heads into the holiday season, a growing number of Canadians are increasingly pessimistic about the future of their finances and their ability to provide for basic needs such as food and housing.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, economic instability and the rising cost of living, one third (33 per cent) of respondents said they were pessimistic about the future of their personal finances, an increase of 10 percentage points from a similar study in 2021. One quarter (25 per cent) said they were extremely concerned about having enough income to cover their basic needs.

Alarmingly, more than half of Canadians polled (52 per cent) said they had faced food security challenges in the past year, a trend that corresponds with what The Salvation Army’s staff have been seeing at food banks and shelters across the country.

Among those who accessed a food bank in the past year, 59 per cent were first time users.

“We’re seeing more and more families asking for our assistance for the first time,” said Lt-Colonel John Murray, Salvation Army Canada territorial secretary for communications. “With the threat of a recession, we anticipate this number will continue to grow. Now more than ever before, we are here for people who need us.”

“We’re seeing more and more families asking for our assistance for the first time.”

“Looking to the future, 47 per cent of respondents said they expect to face challenges with food security, 10 per cent expect challenges to housing security and 33 per cent said they expect challenges due to limited financial resources.”

“The results of this survey confirm what we’ve been seeing for the past 12 months,” said Murray. “The number of Canadians facing significant hardship is growing, and those impacted are no longer the most vulnerable in society – they could be a friend, neighbour, or family member. We ask that as Canadians go about their holiday spending this year, that they please consider setting some money aside for a charitable cause, like The Salvation Army.”

To view the report click here:

Click here to download a pdf of the report.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become one of the largest direct providers of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and in more than 130 countries around the world. Its community and social service activities include: hunger relief for individuals and families through food banks and feeding programs; shelter for people experiencing homelessness and support for those needing housing; rehabilitation for those struggling with substance-use recovery; long-term care and palliative care; Christmas assistance such as food hampers and toys; after-school programs, camps and school nutrition programs for children and youth; and life-skills classes, such as budgeting, cooking for a family, and anger management. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.

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For further information:

Linda Leigh
Manager of Communications
The Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters for Canada and Bermuda