Identifying Policy Options to Reduce Household Food Insecurity in Canada

Despite the long history of food banks in Canada, household food insecurity has persisted at high rates. PROOF’s research highlights the need for policy makers to shift their focus from food charity to public policies that increase the incomes of vulnerable households.

Illustration of empty shopping cart casting shadow on map of Canada

New report:
Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2022

Food insecurity:
A problem of inadequate income, not solved by food

Illustration of helicopter shining light on can of food in the water with other basic needs sinking in the shadows, forming a dollar sign symbol

Learn about food insecurity

Food insecurity is the inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints. It is a serious public health problem, a marker of pervasive material deprivation, and a matter of public policy.

Statistics Canada monitors the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity through its population surveys. This monitoring has enabled research on the predictors of food insecurity, the impact on health and health care, and the effects of different policy interventions on food insecurity.

How many Canadians are affected by household food insecurity?

Based on the latest data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey, 8.7 million Canadians, including 2.1 million children, lived in food-insecure households in 2023.

Learn more about monitoring and the latest numbers

Who are most at risk of household food insecurity?

Food insecurity is a measure of material deprivation. It is most prevalent among households with inadequate, insecure incomes and limited, if any, financial assets, or access to credit.

Learn more about the predictors of food insecurity

What are the implications of food insecurity for health and health care?

Food insecurity has serious implications for people’s health and wellbeing beyond just poor nutrition and diet. And as a result, it takes a serious toll on health care resources and spending.

Learn more about the health implications

What can be done to reduce food insecurity in Canada?

There is a strong body of evidence showing that food insecurity can be reduced through policy interventions that improve the incomes of low-income households.

Learn more about these policies


PROOF is an interdisciplinary research program examining effective policy interventions to reduce household food insecurity in Canada.

Our work shines a spotlight on the size and seriousness of food insecurity in Canada, the inability for charitable assistance to resolve it, and how it can be remedied through public policies supporting adequate incomes. We provide evidence on the kinds of policy action needed and timely and reliable reporting of food insecurity statistics.

Featured Blog Posts

  • Commentary

    National school food program won’t solve food insecurity for families.
    Here’s what can.

    While the 2024 budget included funding for a national school food program, it lacked any action on the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) – the policy best positioned to move the needle on food insecurity among families with children.

    May 7, 2024

  • Announcement | Story

    New data on household food insecurity in 2023

    We’ve summarized the latest data on food insecurity in 2023 from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey. In 2023, 8.7 million Canadians, including 2.1 million children, lived in a food-insecure household.

    April 26, 2024

  • Commentary | Research | Resource | Story

    Food insecurity in Canada is the worst it’s ever been — here’s how we can solve it

    Drawing on data from StatCan’s Canadian Income Survey, our new report has found that the percentage of households with inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints rose to 17.8% in 2022 from 15.9% in 2021.

    November 19, 2023

  • Commentary | Story

    Canada Child Benefit’s Seventh Year: Reflecting on its unrealized potential to reduce food insecurity

    As Canada commemorates the seventh anniversary of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), it is essential to reflect on the program’s design and its role in addressing household food insecurity among families with children.

    July 21, 2023

  • Commentary | Story

    Canada’s national food policy is at risk of enshrining a two-tiered food system

    The federal government’s approach to food insecurity so far has been funding the expansion of local food charity. Doing so is enshrining a two-tiered food system.

    June 6, 2023

  • Commentary | Story

    Food prescriptions – a short-sighted response to food insecurity

    Providers of food prescriptions in Canada have acknowledged that they are “at best, stopgap measures” & “not a solution to food insecurity”. Canada already has a long history of stopgap measures in food charity. Can we afford to entrench another?

    May 25, 2023

Latest Resources

  • November 19, 2023

    Video: Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2022

  • Household Food Insecurity, 2022 cover

    November 19, 2023

    Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2022

  • Submission to the Senate Standing Committee of National Finance Study on Bill S-233: The Potential for a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income to Reduce Food Insecurity and Improve Health

    July 24, 2023

    The Potential for a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income to Reduce Food Insecurity and Improve Health (Senate submission)

  • 2023 Provincial and Territorial Budget Reflection

    April 13, 2023

    Taking a closer look at provincial and territorial budgets and what they could mean for food insecurity

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