Household Food Insecurity



One in eight Canadian households do not have enough money to buy safe and nutritious food.  Household food insecurity, the inadequate or insecure access to food because of financial constraints, is a serious public health issue in Canada.  For individuals living in food insecure households, there is greater likelihood of having or developing one or more chronic physical and/or mental health conditions and becoming a ‘high cost user’ of health care services. 


All households in Canada must have sufficient income for secure access to nutritious food after paying for other basic necessities. Given the alarming prevalence, severity and impact of household food insecurity in Canada, it is essential that a pan-Canadian, government-led strategy be put in place to specifically reduce food insecurity at the household level, including policies that address the unique challenges of Indigenous Peoples. 

Regular monitoring of the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity across all of Canada is required. Research must continue to address gaps in knowledge about household vulnerability to food insecurity and to evaluate the impact of policies developed to eliminate household food insecurity in Canada.


Dietitians of Canada is currently updating documents that provide background information about the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity in Canada, as well as preparing formal recommendations to address issues related to household food insecurity. 
Organizations wishing to preview these documents for the purpose of potential endorsement are welcomed to request a confidential copy for review


  • Household Food Insecurity in Canada

    (June 2016) Background paper; Position Statement and Recommendations; Executive Summary.

  • PROOF Factsheets

    (July 2016)  A series of 4 fact sheets is available through PROOF, a CIHR-funded, interdisciplinary research program working to identify effective policy interventions to reduce household food insecurity in Canada:
    Monitoring Food Insecurity in Canada
    Children in Food Insecure Households
    The Impact of Food Insecurity on Health
    Public Policy and Food Insecurity

  • 2016 DC (BC) Submission to the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

    (May 2016) Dietitians of Canada compares total basic monthly income and disability assistance to the cost of a healthy diet in BC as reported by the Provincial Health Services Authority report Food Costing in BC 2015. The submission recognizes recent income and disability reforms and identifies that it is now timely to increase income and disability assistance rates to provide recipients with enough money to pay for a healthy diet.  Executive Summary also available.

  • 2016 federal pre-budget recommendations

    (February 2016) DC's recommendations to the federal government address issues including food insecurity (Aboriginal, poverty), excise tax on SSB, access to home-/community-based care and telehealth dietitians, national workforce data base and nutrient database of Canadian foods.

  • Food Insecurity in Canada

    (October 1, 2015) This one page document provides an overview of the food insecurity situation in Canada including the prevalence, impact on health, cause and elements of a national strategy to address food insecurity.

  • Guide to Food Costing in B.C. (2015)

    Provinces and territories across Canada collect food prices to better understand how much it costs to eat a basic nutritious diet. The “Guide to Food Costing in BC” is an online training video and a booklet for food costing data collection based on the National Nutritious Food Basket.

  • Food Costing in B.C. (2013)

    This report presents the average monthly cost of a nutritionally adequate, balanced diet in B.C. based on the National Nutritious Food Basket. Includes methods and comparison to previous years' data.

  • The Cost of Healthy Eating in Saskatchewan 2012

    (2012) This is the fourth food costing report completed in Saskatchewan. The report examines the cost of healthy food across the province and identifies ways to work towards food security.

  • BC Auditor General Submission: DC calls for changes to social assistance rates and the Nutritional Supplement Programs

    (2013) – Dietitians of Canada reviewed some of the current challenges faced by the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation clients. Recommendations include ensuring social assistance rates and earning limits allow recipients sufficient income to purchase a healthy diet in their local areas, and addressing the inadequacies and inefficiencies in the Nutritional Supplement Programs.

  • Cost of Eating in BC Report

    (2011) – An advocacy report released by Dietitians of Canada, BC Region to bring attention to the fact that not all British Columbians have enough money to buy healthy food.

  • Letter on Right to Food

    (November 2011) Dietitians of Canada provided input to the Canadian Joint Civil Society Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, in preparation for the upcoming Right to Food Mission to Canada in May 2012. This will be the first Mission to an OECD country by the Special Rapporteur, Olivier de Schutter, who requested input into establishing priority issues for investigation, as well as suggestions for supportive site visits.

  • DC response to Ontario Social Assistance Review

    (August 2011) Dietitians of Canada's response focuses on the need for access to healthy foods for all Ontarians, including those on social assistance, and on the need for Registered Dietitians to be included in any review of the Special Diet Allowance Program.

  • Healthy Eating and Food Security: Promising Strategies for BC

    (2010) – A discussion paper outlining best and promising practices that can inform community action in the areas of food security and healthy eating in BC.

  • Cost of Eating in Alberta

    (2009) – An advocacy paper on the challenges faced by low income families in obtaining food for a healthy diet.

  • Nutrition and Food Security Network

Updated July 22, 2016

eaTracker helps you track your eating and activity choices, analyze your recipes, plan your meals and more...

Start tracking!

Learn more about food insecurity in Canada and proposed solutions.

Download the handout

World Food Day is celebrated each year on October 16.

Learn more