Connect with us

News

Food costs lead 20% of Canadians to skip meals: survey

Published

 on

SASKATOON –

Laurie O’Connor says more people in Saskatoon are struggling to get food for themselves and their families as prices in grocery stores rise out of reach.

“We are definitely seeing an increase and have been noticing that since January,” said O’Connor, executive director of the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.

The majority of respondents in a Canada-wide survey released Monday said they are using coupons or hunting for sales to cope with increasing food costs. Nearly 20 per cent were also reducing meal sizes or skipping meals altogether in order to save money.

The survey by the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan was conducted from Sept. 6 to Oct. 17. It asked 1,001 people about strategies to cope with increasing food costs.

Statistics Canada’s consumer price index report said while the country’s annual inflation rate dropped slightly to 6.9 per cent in September, the cost of groceries continued to climb. Grocery prices increased at the fastest rate since August 1981, with prices up 11.4 per cent compared to a year ago.

In adapting to the surging costs, most respondents in the survey said they have been cutting coupons. A majority — almost 59 per cent — were also decreasing their household food waste.

Fifty-four per cent also made meal plans to ensure they had adequate funds for food.

Troubling strategies were less common but still too prevalent, said Jessica McCutcheon, associate director of the research hub.

Just over 30 per cent of respondents said they were eating less healthy food because it was cheaper. Nearly five per cent had stolen food out of necessity, and about five per cent had used a food bank or community fridge.

A recent report from Food Banks Canada said there were nearly 1.5 million visits to food banks in March, a figure that was 15 per cent higher than the number of visits in the same month last year and 35 per cent higher than visits in March 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The survey said people in the Prairie provinces were much more likely to have used emergency measures for food.

“Alberta and Saskatchewan have some of the highest food bank usage rates across Canada,” McCutcheon said.

In Saskatoon, O’Connor said the numbers of people using the food bank are some of the highest staff have seen. There’s also a worrisome increase in the number of students and seniors coming in, she said.

The survey found young people, aged 18 to 34, were more likely to have used a food bank or community fridge. They were also less likely to feel that they could afford to eat a balanced diet. Those 35 to 54 were more likely to have used coupons or purchased sale items.

Quebec saw the starkest difference from the Prairies, as 95 per cent of respondents there said they could afford to eat a balanced diet.

“It could be because Quebec just has a more robust social security net with their policies,” said McCutcheon.

The survey asked about government strategies to deal with food insecurity. Most supported increased funds to community gardens, food banks and implementing a universal healthy school food program. And there was support for grocery subsidies for low-income households and government support for farmers and producers.

Most respondents — just over 79 per cent — supported an increase to the minimum wage in their provinces. However, there was opposition to strategies that saw an increase or creation of taxes.

People in Quebec said they were supportive of an increase to minimum wage, a tax on sugar and an increase in carbon emission penalties. Those on the Prairies were much more likely to oppose those taxes.

To deal with food insecurity, O’Connor said, you have to deal with the root causes of poverty. The Saskatoon food bank also has programs around education, employment strategies and filing taxes.

Finding work isn’t the only solution anymore, she added , because wages and assistance just aren’t meeting everyone’s needs.

“(A) number of folks who are working, maybe a minimum wage job or a couple of minimum wage jobs, are being forced to turn to food banks now,” she said.

Researchers said the survey had a 3.1 per cent margin of error, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20, nationally.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2022.

Source link

Continue Reading

News

Pilot dead after ultralight plane crash northwest of Fredericton

Published

 on

 

FREDERICTON – The pilot of an ultralight plane died after the aircraft crashed in a cornfield about 25 kilometres northwest of Fredericton.

Ken Hodgson, fire chief of Keswick Valley Fire Department, says his team received a call at 11:33 a.m. about a crash in Burtts Corner, N.B., along Route 104, which links the province to Nova Scotia.

Hodgson says there were no other casualties.

Ambulance New Brunswick, the coroner’s office and RCMP also responded to the crash.

In a news release, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it deployed a team of investigators to an “aircraft accident near Fredericton.”

But the agency did not immediately respond to questions asking for details about the crash.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Source link

Continue Reading

News

B.C. Interior residents get ready to go as erupting wildfire threatens

Published

 on

 

It’s the first time The Inn at Spences Bridge has been empty since April.

Dorothy Boragno, who owns the inn with her husband Michael Findlay, said Friday they watched thick smoke across the Thompson River from the out-of-control Shetland Creek wildfire that has already forced others to evacuate.

“We’ve been through fires before, so we know what happens, and if they get close, usually we get firemen to stay at our hotel, so we’re not too worried yet. But it does bring back bad memories,” said Boragno.

The Shetland Creek fire in the southern Interior more than doubled in size from Thursday to Friday, due to what the B.C. Wildfire Service said was “significant overnight growth” and more accurate mapping.

Its rapid spread was part of an eruption of wildfire activity across B.C., with more than 270 burning as of Friday afternoon, most caused by recent lightning storms, then fuelled by hot, dry weather and winds.

The Shetland Creek fire is now listed at 132 square kilometres in size, up from 57 square kilometres, and has prompted evacuation orders and alerts in the communities of Spences Bridge, Ashcroft and part of Cache Creek, east of Kamloops.

The BC Wildfire Service says the fire advanced about six kilometres in a northwest direction parallel to Highway 1 Thursday night.

It is considered the only “wildfire of note” in B.C., meaning it is highly visible or poses a potential threat to public safety or infrastructure.

The wildfire service says 71 firefighters and six helicopters are battling the blaze in addition to structure protection personnel, heavy equipment operators, and an incident management team.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District expanded an evacuation order in front of the fire on Thursday evening to cover about 85 properties in the Venables Valley area, while the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band has issued orders for several reserves along the Thompson River.

Hundreds of other properties are subject to an evacuation alert, with the district telling them to be ready to leave on short notice.

The Village of Cache Creek on Friday issued an evacuation alert because of the fire out of an “abundance of caution.” The alert includes the Cache Creek Regional Airport and nine other properties, but the main sections of the village are not yet on alert.

The Village of Ashcroft is also under an evacuation alert and Mayor Barbara Roden said Friday that the fire’s aggressive behaviour is “very concerning.”

“So, residents are very on edge. They have been ever since this fire started and it was clear that it was going to be heading in this direction,” she said. “It’s been thick smoke here for the last few days even though the fire is still several kilometres away, there’s ash falling on everything here in Ashcroft.”

The nearby Ashcroft Indian Band, which is also on evacuation alert, posted a notice on Facebook Friday, saying band leaders understand that “everyone is on edge with the Shetland Creek Fire burning nearby.”

The statement said they are in constant contact with the BC Wildfire Service, getting updates when available and they appreciate everyone’s co-operation in conserving water they have in the reservoirs to “use in a worst-case scenario.”

“In the meantime, we have our maintenance and fire mitigation crews out in the community adding more fireguards around the south and east side. As an additional piece to our regular fire mitigation practices, they are clearing debris and flammable fuels from around power poles and hydrants and we have a water tank on a trailer with hoses ready to go.”

Boragno said they are also ready to get out, with a cat cage and a bag of “special stuff” ready next to the door.

She said it was touching to see the whole town pull together with people helping each other out, because no one likes going through this.

“It brings back huge trauma for people who lost their homes and stuff,” said Boragno.

Cliff Chapman with the BC Wildfire Service said Thursday the province appeared to be “on the precipice of a very challenging 72 hours” with hot weather, dry lightning and strong winds in the forecast.

Environment Canada on Friday issued a series of severe thunderstorm watches across much of the B.C. Interior, and a severe thunderstorm warning for the Stuart-Nechako region in the north.

The storms mostly overlap the almost 30 areas that are also under heat warnings, and while they may bring hail and rain, they also bring lightning and winds that trigger and fuel fires. The heat warnings span most of the southern Interior and stretch up through central B.C. into the northeast, along with inland sections of the north and central coasts.

The weather office says much of the Interior is expected to see temperatures in the 30s over the coming days, along with overnight lows in the mid-teens.

For Roden the forecast offers little hope for relief with temperatures topping 40 degrees, but she’s hopeful that people will remain calm and ready to leave if it comes to that.

“So, you’ve got the smoke, you’ve got the ash, you’ve got the heat,” she said. “All these factors coming together are making people very edgy, very nervous. They’re remembering fires past and, and it’s the uncertainty.”

Roden said the village had fires in 2017 and 2021 “on our doorstep.”

“Part of my job as mayor is to try to ensure that people don’t panic,” she added. “I cannot think of any situation that has ever been improved by people panicking.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2024.

Source link

Continue Reading

News

Newfoundland town on edge as crews search for missing vessel with seven people aboard

Published

 on

 

NEW-WES-VALLEY, N.L. – Anxiety gripped a Newfoundland fishing community Friday as a massive search was underway for a missing vessel carrying seven harvesters that hadn’t been heard from in two days.

Mike Tiller, mayor of New-Wes-Valley, N.L., said local fishers were heading out in their private boats to join the search, while people on land gathered together to wait for word about the missing vessel.

The town cancelled its nine-day Crab Festival, set to begin Saturday, out of respect for the families of the missing fishers, he said.

“Our community doesn’t have much to celebrate until we know the outcome of this,” Tiller said in an interview. “If it’s a positive outcome, and seven of those fishermen show up at the wharf, I think it’ll be the biggest celebration we’ve ever had. But right now, celebrating is not on the agenda for anybody.”

The Elite Navigator fishing boat was reported overdue to the Canadian Coast Guard on Thursday afternoon, said Lt.-Cmdr. Len Hickey, with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax. The vessel’s responder last transmitted a signal at around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

The 15-metre-long boat was carrying seven crew members, five of whom are from New-Wes-Valley, Tiller said. The other two are from coastal towns nearby. New-Wes-Valley is an amalgamation of several small fishing communities along Newfoundland’s northeast coast and home to about 2,000 people.

Four coast guard vessels, a Cormorant helicopter, a Hercules aircraft and a plane from PAL Airlines were searching for the missing boat Friday, along with a fleet of local fishers. A thick bank of fog hampered their efforts on Thursday night, but conditions were clearer on Friday, Hickey said.

“I know they’re considering draft charts as well, just in case the vessel just lost propulsion,” he added.

Coastal communities across Newfoundland and Labrador are knit together by the fishing industry, and by the grief of losing community members to one of the deadliest professions in the country.

“Every community that has been hit by something like this relives it again when they know it’s going on in another part of the province,” Tiller said. “They know the anxiety that’s being felt, they know the worst can happen. And everybody is hoping that this is just a lost fishing vessel.”

Premier Andrew Furey expressed his concern for the missing harvesters and their friends and family in a post to social media Friday morning.

“We will be there to support the community during this challenging time as we hope for a positive outcome,” Furey wrote on X. “Thank you to all those involved in the search effort.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2024.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax erroneously reported that the boat was last heard from on Thursday night. In fact, it was last heard from on Wednesday night.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending