- Learn more about why food insecurity is a serious public health problem
- Read these fact sheets about food insecurity
- Learn more about why income solutions are needed to reduce food insecurity
Spread the word
- Talking about the problem of food insecurity at your dinner table or at social gatherings
- Sharing the link to the No Money for Food is...Cent$less campaign on social media using this link: http://bit.ly/2DRKYoK
- Retweeting @RDsPubHealthON tweets about food insecurity
- Using our Youth Action on Food Insecurity Toolkit to run a campaign at your high school or at a community youth club
Click to send this Open Letter to the four federal political party leaders
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau email@example.com
Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Opposition and the Conservative Party firstname.lastname@example.org
Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Québécois Yves-Francois.Blanchet@parl.gc.ca
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party Jagmeet.Singh@parl.gc.ca
Jo-Ann Roberts, Interim Leader of the Green Party email@example.com
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Mr. Scheer, M. Blanchet, Mr. Singh and Ms. Roberts,
I am writing about food insecurity, a serious problem that affects over four million Canadians. Food insecurity is inadequate or uncertain access to food due to financial constraints. Far too many Canadians cannot afford to pay the rent, bills AND put enough food on the table.
Food insecurity negatively impacts health, mental well-being, and the ability to lead productive lives. It is shameful that so many people are struggling to afford food in a country as wealthy as Canada.
I want to live in a country that makes the eradication of food insecurity and poverty a priority. In 2018, Canada released its first Poverty Reduction Strategy built on the pillars of dignity, providing opportunity and enhancing resilience and security. Specific targets for poverty reduction using the Market Basket Measure as Canada’s official poverty measure were established and food insecurity measurement is included as an indicator to track progress. This is a big step in the right direction, but more still needs to be done.
Existing programs that boost a household’s financial situation, such as the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors and the Canada Child Benefit for families with children, have shown to be effective at reducing food insecurity – but these programs leave a big gap. A substantial number experiencing food insecurity are working-age people with no children who are ineligible for these financial supports. About 60% of food insecure households have employment as their main source of income, indicating that jobs are not paying enough. The establishment of a basic income guarantee for all Canadians has strong potential to significantly reduce food insecurity and poverty rates across the country. As perhaps the most highly sensitive measure of material deprivation, specific targets for the reduction of food insecurity should also be established for Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Based on 2007 data, poverty was estimated to cost Canada up to 30.5 billion dollars in public costs, including crime and healthcare, and up to 55.6 billion dollars in private costs, including lost productivity. In total, poverty in Canada was estimated to cost about 86 billion dollars.
In 2018, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that a basic income for all Canadians, based on the Ontario Basic Income model, would cost approximately 76 billion dollars. However, when immediate cost savings are removed, such as social assistance costs and GST rebates, the net cost would be 44 billion dollars. This net cost is much less than the cost of poverty in Canada. A basic income guarantee for all would also align well with the pillars of Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy as it would help to foster dignity, opportunity and security for all recipients.
I ask that Canada’s 43rd parliament take swift action to develop and enact legislation for a basic income guarantee as an effective response to the problem of household food insecurity and to ease the burden of poverty in Canada.