Press Release: Food Insecurity Report Demands Action

For Immediate release

FOOD INSECURITY REPORT DEMANDS ACTION, SAY FOOD MOVEMENT LEADERS
`Eat Think Vote` events press candidates to take action  on hunger

Montreal; and Toronto, October 5, 2015 --  Food Secure Canada and Community Food Centres Canada are reacting today with alarm  to a new report on the persistently high rates of household food insecurity in Canada released by the PROOF research team.  Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2013 has documented  2.4 million adults and nearly a million children in Canada-- or approximately 12.5 per cent of households-- experienced food insecurity in that year (the most recent year for which statistics have been compiled).  The organizations say that this report is confirmation that political will is required to address this issue, as they are calling for all parties to do through their Eat Think Vote election campaign.

“This is a costly problem, in both human and financial terms, that can no longer be ignored by our politicians,” says Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada. “Our Eat Think Vote campaign has seen over 50 grassroots events across the country asking local candidates to put poverty and food issues front and central in their platforms.  The numbers in this report show that food insecurity is an intractable problem that requires a coherent policy response to address poverty head-on” says Bronson.  

Food insecurity is defined by the Canadian government as “the inability to acquire or consume an adequate diet quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so.” The 2013 numbers in the report significantly underestimate the problem, since four jurisdictions (Yukon, BC, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador)  have stopped collecting the data necessary to feed into the national report.

“Food insecurity is not only an affront to human dignity and rights but is also hugely costly to the public purse.  Recent research done for Ontario clearly documented that higher household food insecurity results in significant health-care costs, with increases up to 121% for those living in severe food insecurity” says Nick Saul of Community Food Centres Canada.  “If we extrapolate the Ontario figures nationally, a conservative estimate of the cost of food insecurity to the health care system is over $3 billion per year.  As part of Eat Think Vote, Community Food Centres Canada is calling for all parties to investigate a basic income floor in order  to combat hunger and food insecurity.”

Among other findings of the 2013 Report on Household Food Insecurity:

  • the primary factor influencing food insecurity is income;
  • 38.2% of single parent families headed by women were food insecure;
  • 68% of households on social assistance were food insecure;
  • Households with people of Aboriginal, Latin American  or African descent experience significantly higher levels of food insecurity;
  • the majority of food insecure households in Canada have some employment income;
  • food insecurity is continuing to rise, with particularly alarming results in the Maritimes and Northern Canada.

Eat Think Vote is a campaign whose overarching goal is a comprehensive food policy that addresses the crisis of food insecurity-- particularly but by no means exclusively in the North-- as well as the economic, health and environmental issues related to food. Eat Think Vote events are planned from coast to coast and feature federal candidates and the pubic sharing a community meal and discussing the main issues connected to food insecurity in Canada.

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About FSC
Food Secure Canada is a pan-Canadian alliance of organizations and individuals working together to advance food security and food sovereignty through three inter-locking goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and sustainable food systems.

About CFCC
Community Food Centres Canada provides resources and a proven approach to partner organizations across Canada to create Community Food Centres that bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food. CFCC also works with the broader food movement to build greater capacity for impact and to empower communities to work toward a healthy and fair food system. For more information: www.cfccanada.ca

More information: 
Francois Zeller, Food Secure Canada, 438-401-1733, communications@foodsecurecanada.org
Diana Bronson, Food Secure Canada, 514-629-9236, diana@foodsecurecanada.org
Nick Saul, Community Food Centres Canada, 416-301-6966

To contact the report's authors: Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, 647-517-1860


Food Secure Canada and Sustain Ontario are hosting a meal and a conversation about food insecurity at an Eat Think Vote event in Toronto's Spadina-Fort York riding. The event is free and will feature a presentation from Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, as well as from MP Adam Vaughan and candidates Olivia Chow, Sharon Danley, and Nick Lin. Monday, October 5, 6:30-8:30pm, Harbourfront Community Centre (Dance Studio), 627 Queen's Quay West. All are welcome. For more information: Sasha McNicoll, sasha.mcnicoll@gmail.com, 647-770-8388