For immediate release
October 18, 2023
VICTORIA, B.C. – To address the pressing issue of food insecurity among post-secondary students, the BC Green Caucus is calling on the BC NDP to invest in on-campus food security resources. This includes the establishment of a Non-Repayable Food Security Grant Program to support students facing financial hardships.
Food banks, initially meant for emergencies like wars and natural disasters, have become permanent fixtures over the last three decades, and are now a presence in most British Columbia communities. Food bank demand on campuses, notably at the University of British Columbia (UBC), has skyrocketed. The UBC AMS Food Bank, for instance, saw a staggering 315% increase in demand by October 2022.
“The escalating cost of living, inflation, and soaring tuition fees are pushing students to the brink. Campus food bank visits are on the rise, with international students facing the greatest burden,” said Sonia Furstenau, leader of the BC Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley.
A spring 2023 survey by the Campus Food Bank revealed that approximately 70% of its clients are international students, who grapple with high tuition, currency fluctuations and off-campus employment restrictions. As food bank visits surge across Canadian universities, international students, contributing approximately $22 billion annually to Canada’s economy, bear a significant burden.
”We’ve heard stories of students resorting to raiding dumpsters, being turned away at food banks for being an international student. There are students who haven’t eaten in days, sitting in class trying to learn,” Furstenau continued. “As the affordability crisis worsens, the extent of food insecurity has reached an alarming level of concern. To prioritize the well-being of post-secondary students, the Province must help cultivate – as put by the AMS Food Bank – a culture of food security within universities, ensuring affordable access to nutritious meals for all.”
B.C. Green Caucus
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