Individual and Household Food Insecurity



People with food security are able to get healthy food that they can afford. Canada enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. However, over one in eight Canadian households do not have enough money to buy safe and nutritious food. "Food insecurity" increases the risk for:


  • not meeting dietary/nutrition needs
  • not enjoying a healthy diet with preferred or cultural foods
  • becoming sick and using the health care system more often. 

The main cause of food insecurity is insufficient money to buy food, due to insufficient income or precarious employment.


Dietitians believe that food security is a basic right for all Canadians. Yet, over four million people in Canada cannot afford to buy healthy food.

Dietitians of Canada (DC) recommends a population health approach to address food insecurity that addresses the social determinants of this problem so that all people in Canada have access to safe and healthy food that is culturally acceptable to them. A federal strategy to reduce food insecurity is needed to guarantee sufficient income for all citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable to experiencing food insecurity, and monitoring the rate of food insecurity to ensure that ongoing interventions are effective.


In 2005, DC published a position paper on individual and household food insecurity and this paper is currently under review for updating. Dietitians across Canada are involved in local strategies to address food insecurity by:

  • Being part of groups to support poverty reduction and improve access to healthy food
  • Doing regular costing of the Nutritious Food Basket and using results to advocate for better access to healthy food and poverty reduction measures.
  • Supporting people to access social assistance that will help them access food for special diets
  • Conducting research and applying research findings
  • Supporting community food programs


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Learn more about food insecurity in Canada and proposed solutions.

Download the handout

World Food Day is celebrated each year on October 16.

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