Beyond Hunger: The Hidden Impacts of Food Insecurity in Canada
- Food Insecurity
Community challenge highlights
Even before COVID-19, food insecurity— defined as inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints—affected nearly 4.5 million Canadians, many of them among the most vulnerable people in our society. In the first 2 months of the pandemic, that number grew by 39%, affecting 1 in 7 people.
Children, Indigenous people, racialized people, single parents, newcomers and people in Northern communities all disproportionately experience food insecurity. This takes a toll on physical and mental health, and can lead to numerous other problems, such as social isolation.
Survey participants described an impact that goes far beyond what we traditionally think of as hunger and permeates all aspects of their lives. For example:
- 81% said food insecurity had a negative impact on their physical health
79% said it had a negative impact on their mental health
64% said it affected their relationships with loved ones
59% said it had a negative impact on their children
58% said it isolated them socially
57% said it was a barrier to finding and maintaining employment
53% said it impeded their ability to find meaning and purpose in life
46% said it impeded their ability to express and share their culture
This report lays out policy recommendations that can reduce poverty and food insecurity, grouped under four main themes:
Food Insecurity Targets & Reporting
Setting targets to reduce food insecurity will ensure it’s a higher priority. Reporting annually on progress and ensuring we have adequate race-based data can keep the government accountable and help them design effective policies.
Millions of Canadians are living below the poverty line. The federal government can boost income supports to ensure that all food-insecure people can afford to put good food on their table.
The cost of living is increasing, and too many Canadians are struggling to cover their basic needs. Social programs, such as child care, affordable housing and pharmacare, can help people make ends meet.
Racialized and Indigenous Canadians experience food insecurity at a much higher rate. Policies and programs must ensure progress on food insecurity is achieved equitably.
Community challenge sources
About Community Food Centres Canada:
CFCC builds dynamic and responsive Community Food Centres and food programs that support people to eat well, connect with their neighbours and contribute, through advocacy and mutual support, to a more just and inclusive Canada. With our partners, we work to eradicate poverty and food insecurity and to improve the health and well-being of low-income Canadians.
Links to the challenge
Accessed on 13-April-2022
Table of Contents
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):Learn about SDGs
Increasing food security
Addressing inequalities in Montreal.