“Community Food Centres (CFC) – Release of “Beyond Hunger.”
Even before COVID-19, food insecurity affected nearly 4.5 million Canadians. In the first two months of the pandemic, that number grew by 39 per cent. Food insecurity now affects one in seven people, disproportionately impacting low-income and Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities. “Beyond Hunger illustrates that food insecurity is about equity and income,” says Saul. “We urgently need a national solution that goes beyond emergency food assistance. We need a solution founded in solid policy that addresses inadequate social programs, systemic racism and precarious employment.”
Why Food Insecurity happens in Canada:
- People are stuck in low wage and precarious jobs
- Canadians are struggling with a rising cost of living
- Colonialism and systemic racism
- Low social assistance rates trap people in poverty
- More and more people are living alone
- Food in the North is unaffordable
- 81% say it takes a toll on their physical health
- 79% say it impacts their mental health
- 57% say it is harder to find and keep a good job
- 53% say it is a barrier to finding meaning in life
- 58% say it limits their ability to take part in social activities
- 46% say it limits their ability to celebrate their culture
We believe government policy is necessary to address the real cause of food insecurity. Policy is what will increase incomes and make life more affordable — for everyone. Here are four policy changes for the federal government to act on:
- Invest in income supports for low income Canadians
- Increase income benefits for single adults who suffer disproportionately from food insecurity by:
- Ensuring low-wage workers have equal access to Employment Insurance.
- Improving existing tax benefits so they provide more income by making them refundable.
- Creating a tax credit specifically for working-age adults.
- Ensure low-income Canadians, especially First Nations living on reserve, have better access to tax filing supports and benefit services.
- Make life more affordable for Canadians
- Speed up the implementation of the Canada Housing Benefit, which supports people who can’t
- afford their housing.
- Increase federal funding for early learning and child care.
- Move forward with a universal public pharmacare program.
- Set targets and improve reporting on food security
- Set targets to reduce food insecurity.
- Ensure Statistics Canada reports on food insecurity annually and collects better race-based data.
- Ensure progress on food insecurity is achieved equitably
- In partnership with Northern leadership, continue to reform Nutrition North Canada.
- In partnership with Indigenous leadership, create an Indigenous food sovereignty fund.
- In partnership with Black communities, create a fund to decrease food insecurity for Black Canadians.
- Apply a racial equity lens to all poverty and food-security policies.