BC Ferries employees working at Swartz Bay donated about 1,400 pounds of food to the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank following suspension of food services in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy of BC Ferries).

COVID-19 threatens the food security of millions of Canadians

Stats Can finds many Canadians do not have financial resources to sustain ‘well-being’

New data from Statistics Canada compiled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the food security issues facing millions of Canadians.

The report from Statistics Canada assessing health and social challenges associated with the COVID-19 situation in Canada finds some nine per cent of Canadian households were “food insecure” in 2017-2018. Food security in turn represents a symptom of larger economic insecurities as close to nine per cent of the Canadian population — about 3.2 million — lived below the official poverty line in 2018.

Families are qualified as living in poverty if they do not have enough income to purchase a specific basket of goods and services in its community. This market-based measure is based on the cost of a specific basket representing a modest, basic standard of living that includes the costs of food, clothing, footwear, transportation, shelter and other expenses for a reference family. These costs are compared with the disposable income of families to determine whether or not they fall below the poverty line.

RELATED: Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

For children under 18 years of age, the poverty rate was slightly over eight per cent, meaning that 566,000 children lived below the poverty line in Canada.

The new figures appear against the backdrop of warnings from foodbank operators concerned about declining donations, just as need is predicted to rise.

The report also finds more than one-half of Canadians had enough savings to maintain what the report calls their “well-being” for at least three months, which suggests that a large number of Canadians do not have enough financial resources to withstand a sudden drop in income for an extended period of time. Among Canadian families that reported having debt in 2016, 11 per cent skipped or delayed a non-mortgage payment, such as payments on a credit card, payments for utility services, or car payments in the past year.

This said, it is also important to note Canada’s official poverty rate has been dropping from 12.1 per cent in 2015 to 8.7 per cent in 2018.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depne@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney blocks off parking spaces to create more sidewalk

Additional measures to create more outdoor space for restaurants and cafe on way

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP seize vehicle stolen from New Westminster

Man arrested on Resthaven Drive charged with possession of property obtained by crime

Telus headquarters to come to Victoria in ‘landmark building’ development

City sells land on coroner of Douglas and Humboldt streets for $8.1 million

Victoria man identified as victim in Thunder Bay murder

Police investigating after Paul Vivier, 29, discovered in hotel

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Vancouver Island school principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Considerations made to keep Island community’s drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

Most Read