Household Food Insecurity in Niagara

Household food insecurity is not having enough money to buy food. Due to a lack of money, people who are food insecure may:

  • Worry about running out of food
  • Compromise quality and quantity of food
  • Miss meals, limit their intake or go without

Household food insecurity can take a toll on health and well-being. People who are food insecure are more likely to have:

  • Poor diets and consume less fruits and vegetables
  • Poorer physical health and at risk for many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis and back problems
  • An increased risk for depression, anxiety disorder, mood disorders or suicidal thoughts

Children who experience food insecurity at an early age are more likely to develop asthma and mental health problems that persist into adolescence and adulthood.

Learn more about food insecurity.

Taking action on food insecurity

Public policies, such as senior pensions, child benefit programs and other social assistance programs can improve the financial circumstances of households and reduce food insecurity.

However, income support received through these programs are often not enough, and households are still forced to compromise food quality and quantity to pay the bills.

At Niagara Region Public Health, we're calling on the federal and provincial governments to implement policies that improve the financial circumstances of individuals and families. The policies would:

  • Increase minimum wage
  • Reduce taxes for the lowest tax brackets
  • Increase social assistance rates
  • Further study a basic income guarantee. A basic income guarantee is a payment to eligible families or individuals that ensures a minimum income level regardless of employment status.

Read the report on Food Affordability in Niagara: Results of the 2023 Nutritious Food Basket Survey prepared for the Niagara Regional Council Public Health and Social Services Committee (October, 2023).

Read the motion by Niagara Regional Council Public Health and Social Services Committee: Basic Income for Income Security (July 14, 2020).

How you can take action on food insecurity

Statistics in Niagara

  • One in five households (20.7 per cent) in Niagara are food insecure (Canadian Income Survey, 2022)
  • 18.3 per cent of Niagara children and youth aged one to 17 years of age live in food insecure households (Canadian Health Survey of Children and Youth, 2019)

Voices of food insecurity in Niagara

In 2020, the Strengthening Food Security in Niagara project led by the Food Security in Niagara Community Collaborative gathered voices of individuals living in Niagara who are experiencing food insecurity.

Quotes from food insecure individuals in our community

  • "I am constantly worried; I compromise on what I buy. I only can go shopping when my cheque is in at the beginning of the month and the food I can afford is often low in stock or the shelf is empty."
  • "'s never over; I never get ahead."
  • "Mom goes without. Stretching to make last; eating unhealthy because it's too expensive for meats and fruit and veg; my chronic pain could be better managed if cost of living wasn't so overwhelming."

Learn more about the lived experience of food insecurity in Niagara.

The Food Security in Niagara Community Collaborative is a partnership between Community Support Services Niagara, Niagara Connects, Community Care of West Niagara and United Way Niagara.

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