“New report finds household food insecurity in Canada has reached record high in 2022”
The latest data from Statistics Canada reveals that household food insecurity in has Canada reached an all-time high. The percentage of households experiencing inadequate access to food due to financial constraints has risen to 17.8 per cent in 2022 from 15.9 per cent in 2021. This means that 6.9 million Canadians are dealing with the stress of not having enough food due to financial struggles. The impact of this issue is not just limited to individual households, but also has significant implications for the healthcare system.
Health-care system impact
The toll of food insecurity is evident in the impact it has on people’s health and the healthcare system. It is not just a matter of inadequate nutrition, but it also leads to a myriad of negative health outcomes, including physical and mental health conditions and premature death. This results in increased use of health care services, leading to higher costs and additional burden on the public health-care system.
Evidence-based policy interventions
Efforts are required from federal and provincial governments to address the root causes of food insecurity, mainly the inadequacy of household incomes. It has been observed that income support can significantly reduce food insecurity when provided through programs such as child benefits or social assistance. However, the current social safety net is inadequate, and more comprehensive income support is needed to address this issue effectively.
Children in food-insecure households
The data also highlights the concerning impact of food insecurity on children, with 1.8 million children living in food-insecure households in 2022. The current Canada Child Benefit needs restructuring to provide more effective support to families facing food insecurity.
Food insecurity festers
The data indicates that the prevalence and severity of food insecurity in Canada have likely worsened given continued high inflation, particularly in the cost of food, rent, and mortgage interest. Despite the urgency of this issue, major policy action to address it is lacking, and the continuation of food insecurity is becoming a policy choice made by the federal and provincial governments.
The rising household food insecurity in Canada presents a critical issue that needs to be addressed urgently. It is not just a matter of access to food, but it also has significant impacts on people’s health and the healthcare system. There is a need for comprehensive and enduring changes to income policies to effectively tackle this issue. Without immediate and substantial policy action, food insecurity will continue to fester, affecting the lives of millions of Canadians and straining the healthcare system unnecessarily.