Pandemic brings dire financial impact to Atlantic Canada
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the financial well-being of many families in Atlantic Canada.
According to Feed Nova Scotia executive director Nick Jennery, the situation has grown to alarming levels.
"Each day 20,000 pounds of food has to leave this facility," said Jennery, who added that that food goes to 140 front line agencies that are running at full capacity to help feed people living with food insecurity. "Which is at 15 per cent of the population and is unacceptably high."
New statistics released by the BDO Affordability Index, highlight even greater concerns brought on by the pandemic.
Atlantic Canada has seen 31 per cent of its population experience food shortages. More than half (53 per cent) say housing costs are a challenge and 15 per cent of those who live in this region took on credit card debt for the first time.
"The survey showed a bigger divide between the haves and have nots across Canada," said Jeff Lewis from BDO Debt Solutions."The Atlantic provinces fall into the definition of the have nots."
Lewis said the root of the issue is obviously the pandemic, which has brought crushing blow to millions of Canadians. The negative impact has been disproportionately higher in this region.
"78 per cent of Atlantic Canadians say the pandemic is it a devastating effect on their finances and their standard of living," said Lewis.
Jennery added, these dire economic circumstances place enormous financial and psychological pressures on families.
"Maybe it is towards the end ofmonth," said Jennery. "Do I pay my rent? Do I put food on the table? But Ican't afford to do both."
Lewis said the best-case scenario is for the pandemic to end and for the financial situation to improve.
"If you are struggling, there is hope for you," said Lewis.
Lewis pointed out that there are private sector and government resources available to help people navigate around financial difficulties.