Beyond Hunger: The Hidden Impacts of Food Insecurity in Canada

  • Food Insecurity
  • Hunger
  • Inequality
  • Project leads:
  • Sasha McNicoll,
  • Andrea Curtis
2022-05-04
12

Community challenge highlights

FOOD INSECURITY
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.


THE IMPACT
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



POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS:
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.

Income Solutions

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.

Social Programs

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.

Equitable Progress

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.

Report Authors:

Sasha McNicoll

Andrea Curtis

cfccanada.ca

Links to the challenge

Accessed on 13-April-2022

https://icanforkids.ca/wp-content/uploads/Beyond-Hunger.pdf