Measuring Indigenous food insecurity through CCHS and CIS
Indigenous Peoples refer to the original inhabitants of Canada and include Inuit, Métis, and First Nations living on- and off-reserve. National data on Indigenous Peoples and household food insecurity in Canada primarily come from the cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and now, the Canadian Income Survey (CIS). However, the CCHS and CIS exclude individuals living on-reserve, and thus data from these surveys do not represent the experience of on-reserve Indigenous Peoples, who represent nearly a half of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
Our 2021 estimates do not include data from the territories because they were not available at the publication. As a result, off-reserve Indigenous Peoples are underrepresented in our latest report due to the lack of data on those living in the territories.
Food insecurity in the territories, as previously documented through the CCHS, has always been extraordinarily high, especially in Nunavut. The most recently available CIS data were collected in 2020 and do not include marginal food insecurity, but continue to show similarly high rates of moderate and severe food insecurity in the territories (see page 15 of Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2021).
Household food insecurity in the North
Surveys of remote Northern communities, such as those in Nunatsiavut and Nunavik, reveal exceeding high rates of household food insecurity. People living in these communities are likely underrepresented in CCHS and CIS data due to limited survey coverage and sampling. Although the food insecurity statistics from these surveys are not easily comparable due to methodological differences, food insecurity among Indigenous People is likely even worse than it appears in national estimates from CCHS or CIS data given the underrepresentation.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national representative organization for Inuit in Canada, has launched “Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey”, a permanent Inuit-led survey that would reach all communities in Inuit Nunangat and support their Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy.
The following are links to results and reports from surveys of food insecurity among Indigenous Peoples in different regions at different times and for different subgroups. The statistics on food insecurity may not be comparable to that from CCHS or with each other due to differences in methodology or measurement tool used.