The consequences of poverty hurt more than those relying on local food banks. And it will hurt Canadians more to do nothing about it.

The financial consequences of not doing anything about poverty are dire. The 2012 Brock University Niagara Community Observatory report Are the Consequences of Poverty Holding Niagara Back? estimates the financial consequences of poverty on a local level at $1.38 billion a year. However, experts say to not do anything about poverty could double or triple that amount.

Poverty is costing us too much. This is a conclusion that countless studies have determined. According to Canada Without Poverty, a federally incorporated, non-partisan, not-for-profit and charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty in Canada, the annual cost of poverty in Canada is $72-84 billion a year. Ontario’s portion is between $32 and $38 billion. This means Ontarians each spend between $2,299 and $2,895 per year on poverty, according to the Ontario Association of Food Banks.