PROOF | Food Insecurity Policy Research

Household food insecurity is a serious public health problem that affects 1 in 8 Canadian households.

1 in 8 households in Canada are food insecure

Household food insecurity – the inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints – is a serious public health problem in Canada. It negatively impacts physical, mental, and social health, and costs our healthcare system considerably.

Statistics Canada began monitoring household food insecurity in 2005 through the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The most recent national measure was taken in 2012, when 1 in 8 households were food insecure, amounting to over 4 million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, living in homes that struggle to put food on the table.

Household Food Insecurity Annual Reports

Using the data from the CCHS, we’ve released annual reports which provide a comprehensive look at the state of food insecurity in Canada. The most recent national measure, in which all provinces and territories were included, was taken in 2012. The 2013 and 2014 reports reflect data from the provinces and territories that opted to measure food insecurity in those years.

Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon opted out of food insecurity measurement in 2015 and 2016. This makes it impossible to provide a national prevalence estimate for 2015 or 2016. Instead, PROOF has created graphic summaries of the key results for the provinces and territories with data on food insecurity for 2015-2016. The next national estimate will not be available until we have data from the 2017-2018 cycle of the CCHS.


2017 map of food insecurity in Canada

The latest data from the 2017 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) of household food insecurity by province indicate that food insecurity remains a serious problem in Canada. The prevalence rate across all ten provinces was 13.8%, with the prevalence in individual provinces ranging from 12.8% in British Columbia to 15.9% in Newfoundland and Labrador. Food insecurity prevalence rates for the territories are not available for 2017, but will be included in subsequent report using data from 2017 and 2018 combined. PROOF looks forward to sharing a comprehensive national report on food insecurity in 2017-2018 in the coming months.

PROOF is a CIHR-funded, interdisciplinary research program working to identify effective policy interventions to reduce household food insecurity in Canada. Learn more about PROOF