Report says millions of Canadians still struggle to afford food

Feb 06, 2014
This image shows the prevalence of household food insecurity, 2005-2012. Credit: PROOF

Four million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, are living in households where it is sometimes a struggle to put food on the table, according to researchers at the University of Toronto.

Nearly one in eight is impacted by food insecurity, which is defined as inadequate access to food because of financial constraints. At its mildest level, food insecurity means worrying about feeding yourself and your family before your next paycheque. As the problem gets worse, people can't afford to have balanced meals. Then they begin to skip meals, cut and eventually go days without eating, all because they can't afford the food they need. Those impacted often face physical and emotional hardships which compromise their health.

The study was led by U of T's Valerie Tarasuk and her team at PROOF, a that identifies effective policy interventions to address household food insecurity. Building on a report they released last year, the team analyzed municipal data for the first time. Halifax had the highest incidence of food insecurity, with one in five households affected, followed by Moncton, Guelph and Barrie.

The report continues to chart some disturbing trends across the country. Food insecurity has persisted or grown in every province and territory since 2005; 2012 rates in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories were the highest since Health Canada began monitoring the problem.

The team also discovered that 28 per cent of black and Aboriginal households reported some form of food insecurity—more than double the national average.

"Food insecurity takes a very real toll on people's physical and mental health. Four million Canadians are now affected and the number keeps growing. We need to act now to address this problem," says Tarasuk, a Nutritional Sciences Professor at the Faculty of Medicine.

Some key points from the report include:

  • There are 600,000 more Canadians affected by food insecurity now than in 2007-2008
  • 62.2 per cent of food insecure homes are working households
  • 70 per cent of households on social assistance are food insecure, with 29 per cent experiencing severe deprivation
  • 45 per cent of households in Nunavut reported some level of

Explore further: New report says 3.9 million Canadians struggle to afford food

More information: nutritionalsciences.lamp.utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Household_Food_Insecurity_in_Canada-2012ENG.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

17 million US households lack proper diet: report

Sep 07, 2011

Over 17 million US households -- or 14.5 percent -- were unable to eat properly in 2010, either due to small portions, or chronically unhealthy diets, a government report said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

2 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

5 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

16 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?