BI and Food Security


The Case for Basic Income for Food Security

Food Insecurity is an income problem

A team of topic experts have written a briefing note for the 'case for basic income' through the lens of food security. We live in a wealthy country, yet 4.4 million people were food insecure in 2017/2018. They did not have enough money to buy food, which greatly impacts health and well-being. Think about this. Over 4 million children, women and men. If food insecure households received a basic income, they would have enough money to buy food and meet their basic needs.

The work of the 'Case for Basic Income for Food Security' team will be used to advocate to decision-makers that a basic income will address food insecurity, and will help to ensure greater health and well-being for Canadians.

Here is the brief prepared by Mary Anne Martin and Joëlle Favreau with help from Elaine Power, Val Tarasuk and Erin Reyce.

Food insecurity is an escalating, health-threatening, income-rooted problem that must be addressed with income-based solutions. In 2017-18, Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey showed that 4.4 million people in Canada, more than any previous national estimate, were food insecure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to broad changes in employment, caregiving, health, education, consumer practices, and social connection that have all drastically affected incomes and, in turn, food insecurity. By the beginning of May, 2020, Statistics Canada found that the rate of food insecurity overall had grown significantly from 10.5% to 14.6% of Canadians and that households with children under 18 experienced a much higher rate (19.2%) than households with no children (12.2%).

The Government of Canada, with its quick and widespread implementation of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), likely prevented many more Canadians from going without adequate food, but the sharp rise in food insecurity, on top of unacceptably high pre-pandemic rates, suggests that the existing income security safety net is inadequate.

*** Read the full briefing note HERE.
*** Please lend your support to this important issue. Go HERE to sign on to support the briefing note.

For a list of signatories please go HERE


Food banks are not the solution to food insecurity: they ARE the problem.

*** 15 December 2020 Alberta at Noon podcast

This is a 50-minute podcast featuring Elaine Power, professor of Health Studies at Queen's University speaking about food security.

Do food banks actually help in our fight to end hunger? What does the future of food banks look like?

*** Listen to the podcast here.


Holiday food drives: Tossing a can of beans into a donation bin is hardly enough

Publish date: 13 December 2020

"The price of food is expected to climb dramatically in 2021 at a time when many Canadians can barely afford to feed their families following the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet to kick off the “season of giving,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted a pre-Thanksgiving video to Twitter asking Canadians to pick up “an extra item or two for the local food bank and help a family in need.” "

Is this the Canadian way or should we, as Paul Taylor put it, "Put down the tins and go sort out the policy.”

As is pointed out in the article, a basic income is one of the components of the policy.

*** Read the full article HERE.


Ontario Dietitians in Public Health support Basic Income

"Food banks and other food-based programs are ineffective responses to food insecurity because they do not address the primary cause: inadequate income."

link to infographic

*** View the full-size infographic as a PDF HERE.

*** To read the ODPH position paper please go HERE

"Please consider sending a letter to your local MP in support of ODHP. It is so important to let your MP know that food security is an income problem."

*** HERE is a template letter you can use and other information to help you send a letter.