As food insecurity persists in the London area, it’s becoming clear it affects more than hunger.

An article published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry points to a connection between food insecurity and the use of mental health services in Ontario.

About one in eight Canadians experience food insecurity. Those who experience severe food insecurity, missing meals or even going days without eating, were much more likely to receive mental health treatment compared to food-secure adults, the article states.

The Trudeau government says it can raise more than two million Canadians out of poverty by 2030, and do so without any new spending or policy commitments.

We suggest Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos reach out to David Copperfield. The services of the world-famous illusionist may be needed to pull off this feat.

Along with terminating Ontario’s Basic Income experiment and reducing planned increases in social assistance rates, the Ford government has announced plans to develop a transformed approach to social assistance in the next 100 days, one that “would be focused on jobs.” A “focus on jobs” usually translates into harsher conditions for social assistance recipients, more hoops, more tests and inevitably more degradation.

The problem with that approach is there is no evidence that layering on greater conditions actually gets more people into work. Tougher rules may instead encourage recipients to prove they cannot work. Rather than getting applicants to think about what they can do, it’s an incentive for recipients to focus on what they can’t do.

Despite calls to open a tent city in Niagara Falls to provide temporary shelter for homeless people, it appears unlikely to happen.

Officials with the city, Niagara Region and the Niagara Falls Community Health Centre discussed the idea this week but instead are leaning toward providing more support and services to see people living outdoors through the summer.

“We truly believe that a tent city is not the way to go to service the unsheltered,” said Niagara Falls chief administrative officer Ken Todd.

“There are social service people in place to manage them on a one-on-one basis, to find them appropriate services they need to find either food or shelter.”

Rod Sutherland, the City of Kawartha Lakes director of human services, which oversees social assistance programs in the municipality, also commented.

Regarding the time it took to get participants, he said in an email, “There was very limited information available in the early days of the signup process in Lindsay and there was a lot of hesitation from people as it wasn’t clear what the impacts would be on social assistance, other income sources, health benefits, etc. As the project was implemented quite quickly, it took time to get answers to some of these questions. There were a few participants signed up in October and November last year in Lindsay but the full campaign to get going in Lindsay (with regular sessions etc.) didn’t start in earnest until early 2018.”

The director continued, “I have also seen no evidence that the pilot was failing. Every indication I have anecdotally is that there were very positive personal, health and employability outcomes being achieved. I am assuming that by cancelling it, they will not continue with or formally receive any actual reports from the evaluators who were hired to conduct the evaluation (St. Michael’s Hospital and McMaster University).”

The BC Civil Liberties Association is fighting a plan by Vernon city council to bring in a bylaw banning shopping carts on public lands.

Civil liberties lawyer Meghan McDermott sent a letter to the mayor and councillors, urging them to abandon the proposal because of what she says is “flagrant targeting of homeless residents.”

She said for many people without a home, the use of a shopping cart is their lifeline.

“They’re already so vulnerable,” McDermott said. “What they’re trying to do is at least have a handful of possessions, so they can erect a basic shelter. To try and take that away from them is cruel.”

Results from a survey suggest that the vast majority of those who are homeless or “provisionally accommodated” in Whitehorse are Indigenous.

The “Point in Time,” or “PiT” count was done over a 24-hour period on April 17. It was organized by the Yukon Planning Group on Homelessness, along with the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition and the Council of Yukon First Nations.

It was the second PiT count in Whitehorse (the first was in 2016), and is part of a larger initiative to measure homelessness across Canada. Sixty communities across the country are taking part in PiT counts.