What it measures
Dimension: Economic Security
This indicator reports the proportion of households in Canada living in a state of food insecurity. The World Health Organization defines food security as economic and physical access to healthy food that people enjoy. Food insecurity occurs when nutritious food is not available to people, the amount of food is insufficient, or there are barriers to safe and effective food preparation (e.g., sanitation issues). Food insecurity rates in Canada have fluctuated in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The distribution of food insecure households across Canada is unequal. For example, in 2012, 36.7% of households in Nunavut were food insecure – more than four times the Canadian average.
Why this matters
Food insecurity is associated with a number of challenges to wellbeing including poorer health, increased prevalence of chronic conditions, depression, and lack of perceived emotional and practical support. Consequently, higher levels of food insecurity are a negative indicator of population wellbeing.