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.


In August 2016, Dietitians of Canada released 3 documents addressing household food insecurity in Canada: 

  1. the Background Paper - including information about the prevalence, severity and causes of household food insecurity in Canada, with references, 
  2. the Position Statement and Recommendations - addressing the issues related to household food insecurity, with referenced rationale, and 
  3. the Executive Summary - which includes the position statement, recommendations and key information from the two larger, referenced documents. 

DC's Public Policy Statement on Household Food Insecurity is available in English and French in the Journal of Canadian Dietetic Practice and Research 2016;77:159
ÉNONCÉ DE POSITION - L’Insécurité Alimentaire des Ménages au Canada (Rev can prat rech diétét. 2016; 77:159)

We refer to our position and recommendations in DC advocacy work, such as submissions to consultations and government briefs - see Resources below for some examples. In August 2016, Dietitians of Canada also endorsed the OSNPPH Position Statement on Responses to Food Insecurity.

Dietitians of Canada has invited other organizations to endorse our position statement and recommendations on Household Food Insecurity. The following list is updated as we continue to receive endorsements.

Endorsing Agencies:
Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada
Canadian Association of Social Workers
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
Canadian Nutrition Society
Canadian Obesity Network
Food Secure Canada 
Public Health Physicians of Canada 
BC Healthy Living Alliance
BC Food Systems Network
Greater Vancouver Foodbank
Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health
The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) supports the Household Food Insecurity Position Statement and Recommendations offered by Dietitians of Canada. Anti-poverty measures play an important role in improving health outcomes and the CFPC continues to advocate for attention to these issues for all in Canada, focusing on marginalized populations at risk of food insecurity such as Indigenous populations in remote locations.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada applauds the Dietitians of Canada for its effort to address food insecurity in Canada. By emphasizing the deleterious effects of food insecurity on populations at risk, especially children and Indigenous Peoples, we are united in our effort to achieve the best health for all.



Updated October 13, 2016

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