In PROOF's second report on household food insecurity, we see that despite Canada's economic recovery, the number of Canadians struggling to put food on the table because of food insecurity is not abating. In fact, the problem appears to have persisted or grown in every province and territory.
Four million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, lived in households that struggled to afford the food they needed in 2012.
The report demonstrates for the first time ever the extent to which our cities are struggling with the problem. Among the 33 major census metropolitan areas examined, food insecurity in 2011-12 was highest in Halifax, affecting about 1 in 5 households, and lowest in Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Hamilton and Greater Sudbury, where 1 in 11 households were food insecure.
Also a first, the report presents the rate of food insecurity among black people in the country. The extreme vulnerability of this ethnic/racial group that is shared only by Aboriginal peoples. In 2012, 28% of households with a black or Aboriginal respondent were food insecure. This is more than double the national average (12.6%).
According to the report, the majority of food insecure households in Canada are working, calling into question the adequacy of existing government programs (such as the working income tax benefit) to compensate for the limited income associated with low waged, part-time, and insecure employment that many Canadian households rely on to feed their families. At the same time, 70% of households reliant on social assistance were food insecure in 2012, documenting the failure of these programs to enable sufficient access to food.
The full report in English can be accessed at: http://nutritionalsciences.lamp.utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Household_Food_Insecurity_in_Canada-2012ENG.pdf
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