There are many factors that determine which members of a community are most vulnerable to food insecurity. Food insecurity is most common among households with low income, single-parent families, renters, and other marginalized communities.
Food insecurity is also prevalent among Canadian children, and Ontario residents are no exception. Lack of access to food is also a serious problem among Canadian children, including in Ontario. Between April 2018 and March 2019, 169,167 children accessed Ontario food banks, making up 33% of the total number of visitors. The impact of food insecurity on children can be severe, taking a serious toll on their physical and mental health, and can lead to increased risk of developing conditions such as asthma and depression.
Owning your own home is a major factor in reducing the risk of food insecurity. Research has shown that 25% of those who rent are food-insecure, compared to 7.2% of those who own their homes. Toronto’s increasingly unaffordable housing market plays a role in food insecurity in the GTA, since many people are forced to spend a greater percentage of their income on housing, leaving less money to put towards other essential expenses, such as utilities, medicine, or food.
Rates of food insecurity have been shown to vary according to immigration status. Food insecurity is more common among recent immigrants than among those who have been in Canada for five years or more, or Canadian citizens. In Toronto, immigrants’ wages have been stagnating, even after living in Canada for many years, resulting in overrepresentation of those who were born outside of Canada at food banks.
Canada is known for being a country that is welcoming to immigrants. It is important that this welcoming attitude does not stop once immigrants enter the country, but that we continue to support them once they have arrived. Helping people through a time of food insecurity through donating to a food bank is one way that we can ensure the success of newcomers to Canada, so donate to the JRCC’s new Kosher Food Bank program today!