Current Problems

Food Insecurity

Food Banks Canada’s annual Poverty Report Cards show most of the country on edge of failure as struggles with poverty continue to climb

May 22, 2024

NationTalk: TORONTO- Canada has reached a critical turning point as poverty and food insecurity worsen in every corner of the country, but despite the scale of the crisis, most governments are not responding with the urgency that is needed, according to Food Banks Canada’s newly-released 2024 Poverty Report Cards.

Food Banks Canada’s 2024 Poverty Report Cards found that almost half of people nationally (44%) feel worse off financially compared to last year; one in four are experiencing food insecurity and all jurisdictions except one province are failing in the affordable housing section of the report.  These important findings contributed to Food Banks Canada downgrading the federal government’s grade of D in 2023 to a D- in 2024.

“Food Bank Canada’s 2024 Poverty Report Cards show that people in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living. Though deeply concerning, these results are sadly unsurprising to the thousands of food banks across the country who have seen a 50 per cent increase in visits since 2021,” explains Food Banks Canada CEO Kirstin Beardsley. “All levels of government and all jurisdictions working together is the only effective way to decrease and reverse poverty and food insecurity,” urges Beardsley. “Food Banks Canada’s 2024 Poverty Report Cards clearly show that sustained, collective effort from all governments is our greatest hope for real and lasting change.”
Governments in all regions are not providing much-needed, urgent financial relief
“Food Banks Canada introduced its annual Poverty Report Cards in 2023 as a comprehensive overview of the Canadian poverty picture and to compare the progress of every government over time, focusing on providing governments with tangible ways to improve and prioritize poverty reduction efforts,” says Phil Ozga, Chief Network and Government Relations Officer, Food Banks Canada.

“The majority of governments in Canada received 2024 Poverty Report Cards grades in the D range. Seven out of 10 provinces received a D- for their insufficient approach to poverty reduction, which means no province is demonstrating an acceptable level of poverty reduction efforts. Only Nova Scotia (D- in 2024, F in 2023) and Prince Edward Island (C- in 2024, D+ in 2023) improved on their 2023 grades thanks to an improved legislative focus on poverty reduction over the past year,” explains Ozga.

While Quebec is trending slightly higher on its poverty reduction efforts (C+) compared to most regions, the province’s standing slipped from a B- in 2023 as policy actions taken in prior years have not kept pace with the rising cost of living. In the North, housing and living costs are deepening the struggles of communities and signal an urgent need for collective government action.
Food Banks Canada 2024 Poverty Report Cards key findings
Food Banks Canada’s 2024 Poverty Report Cards paint a devastating look at the diverse ways poverty is impacting people in every province or territory in Canada. The full series of report cards provide detailed provincial, national, and territorial analysis and statistics, along with updated interactive, digital maps to hold governments to account.

Province/TerritoryOverall GradeKey FindingsSample Policy Recommendation
British Columbia D+ : same as 2023Grade F: Pay more than 47% on housing – 39%Grade F: Food insecurity increased by 30% in one yearGrade B: Legislative progressAccess policy recommendationsIntroduce a new poverty reduction strategy with the goal of reducing poverty by 50% by 2030. Index all provincial social benefits and credits and increase social assistance rates for single people by at least 10%. 
Alberta D– : lower than a D in 2024 Grade F:  Food insecurity rate – 27%Grade D–:  Feel worse off financially vs. last year – 47%Grade F: Legislative progressAccess policy recommendations Introduce a provincial poverty reduction strategy. Expand the Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit to all Albertans waiting for affordable housing.
Northwest TerritoriesINCGrade F: Legislative progressAccess policy recommendations Index income assistance, the NWT Child Benefit, and all other benefit payments then enhance by 15% over the next 3 years.Develop a formal municipal matching fund for rental construction and repair.
YukonINCGrade C: Legislative progress Access policy recommendations Adopt meaningful rent control. Index and enhance the Yukon Supplementary Allowance for people with disabilities who receive social assistance.
NunavutINCGrade D: Legislative progressAccess policy recommendations Increase and index the Nunavut Child Benefit.Convert the Senior Fuels Subsidy and Homeowner Fuel Rebate into a universal energy-consumption rebate for households with low and modest incomes.  
SaskatchewanD– : lower than a D in 2023Grade F: Feel worse off financially vs. last year – 50%Grade F: Food insecurity rate – 28%Grade F: Legislative progressAccess policy recommendations Update and modernize the 2016 Poverty Reduction Strategy.Improve and index Saskatchewan’s support programs.
ManitobaD– : a significant drop from a C– in 2023Grade C+: Feel worse off financially vs. last year – 39%Grade F: Food insecurity rate – 27%Grade F: Spending more than 30% of income on housing – 40%Access policy recommendations Present a poverty reduction strategy for all Manitobans, with a particular focus on single people and Indigenous peoples.Establish a $100-million annual Manitoba Builds program modelled on the BC Builds program.
Ontario D– : same as 2023Grade F:  Spending more than 30% on housing – 46%Grade F:  Food insecurity rate – 25%Grade D–: Feel worse off financially vs. last year – 47%Access policy recommendations Adopt a set of poverty reduction targets in line with Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, which would entail a 50% reduction in poverty by 2030.Modernize the Ontario Works program and ODSP.
Quebec C+ : lower than a B– in 2023Grade C-:  % of people living an inadequate standard of living –30%Grade B:  Food insecurity rate – 16%Grade F: Spending more than 30% on housing – 41%Access policy recommendations Establish a new poverty reduction strategy, with the ambitious goal to end poverty by 2030.Establish parity for disability social assistance rates.
Newfoundland and LabradorD– : same as 2023Grade F: Food insecurity rate – 26%Grade F: All indicators in Section 1; including 50% of people feeling financially worse vs last yearGrade B: Legislative progressAccess policy recommendationsImplement widespread indexation of benefits and brackets.Pilot new employment initiatives targeting youth and the long-term unemployed.Expand the basic income pilot and partner with P.E.I.
New Brunswick D– : same as 2023Grade F: Spending more than 30% on housing – 37%Grade F: All measures in Section 2, including poverty and food insecurity rateAccess policy recommendations Revise the Poverty Reduction Strategy within 120 days of a new government taking office.Establish a formal rent control guideline.Develop a youth employment and training strategy.
Nova Scotia D– : higher than an F in 2023Grade F: Food insecurity rate – 29%Grade F: Feel worse off financially vs. last year – 57%Grade B: Legislative progress Access policy recommendations Implement a poverty reduction strategy.Remove co-payments for provincial pharmacare programs.Increase and amend the Poverty Reduction Credit.
Prince Edward Island C- : higher than a D+ in 2023Grade F: Food insecurity rate – 29% Grade F: Feel worse off financially vs. last year – 52%Grade B: Legislative progress Access policy recommendationsEstablish a permanent affordable housing financing fund.Prior to the next federal election, seek the unanimous support of all federal parties to support a Guaranteed Basic Income pilot in P.E.I.

About Food Banks Canada
Food Banks Canada provides national leadership to relieve hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow in collaboration with the food bank network from coast to coast to coast. For 40 years, food banks have been dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity. Over 5,100 food banks and community organizations come together to serve our most vulnerable neighbours who in March of last year made nearly two million visits to these organizations, according to our 2023 HungerCount Report. Over the past 10 years, as a system we’ve sourced and shared over 1.4 billion pounds of food and Food Banks Canada shared nearly $168 million in funding to help maximize collective impact and strengthen local capacity – while advocating for reducing the need for food banks. Our vision is clear: create a Canada where no one goes hungry. Visit to learn more.

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