Toronto – August 12, 2017 – Canada is one of the largest agricultural exporters in the world, but close to four million Canadians – including 1.15 million children – experience food insecurity. Among Indigenous peoples, the rates of food insecurity are twice as high as the rest of the population, and high levels of hunger are especially prominent in parts of northern Canada. Food security matters, which is why Canada needs a National Food Policy.
Canada is a global food powerhouse:
In 2016, Canada ranked 8th out of 113 countries on food affordability, availability, and quality and safety.
$112.1 billion was generated by the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector, representing 6.7 percent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With$56 billion in export sales, Canada ranked as the world’s fifth largest exporterof agriculture and agri-food products in 2016.
Last year, the food and beverage processing sector was the largest Canadian manufacturing segment, accounting for $28.5 billion in total revenue.
In Canada, 1 in 8 jobs are in the agriculture and agri-food sector, as 2.3 million people were employed in this industry in 2016.
And yet far too many Canadians are food insecure:
3.9 million Canadians are currently food insecure.
Approximately 1 million Canadian households are living with moderate to severe food insecurity.
Canadian northern regions import the majority of their food, resulting in high costs and poor nutrition. And this has a negative impact on people’s health and quality of life.
$31 billion in food is wasted each year in Canada, and this waste emits approximately 21 metric tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions.
While life expectancy has risen dramatically in the last few decades, Canadians are increasingly exposed to unhealthy dietary choices that are contributing to high rates of obesity, chronic illnesses, and a decreased quality of life, and placing enormous pressure on the Canadian health care system.
Source: “A Food Policy for Canada,”Government of Canada – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; “2016 Census of Agriculture,” Statistics Canada.