Wondering how Canada’s federal parties stack up on poverty reduction, health equity, affordability, and food policy? We’ve gone through the different party platforms and compiled a quick look at some of the promises that would have the biggest impact on Canadians struggling with poverty and food insecurity.
Some of the Liberal policies are not listed in the party’s platform but are ongoing commitments.
Tax credits are one of the federal government’s most important tools to reduce poverty because they can put money straight into the pockets of Canadians. The Canada Child Benefit for parents of children under the age of 18 and the Canada Workers Benefit for low-income workers are examples of refundable tax credits that are helping to increase Canadians’ incomes.
Since many of the most generous tax credits are for children and seniors, CFCC would love to see more supports for single adults, who have some of the highest rates of poverty in the country.
The income gap between low-income seniors and other Canadians is widening. At Community Food Centres, we see a disproportionate number of seniors, many of whom face multiple barriers to eating a healthy diet, such as disabilities or chronic health conditions. Because of these added barriers, it’s imperative that seniors have the support they need to be able to afford a healthy diet.
The high cost of housing in many provinces puts people at greater risk of being food insecure. A survey of Toronto food bank users found that rent was the most common expense for which people skipped meals.
Across the country, housing prices are increasing, and 12.7 per cent of Canadians live in core housing need - meaning they spend more than 50 per cent of their incomes on rent.
The high cost of child care in most provinces can also affect a family’s ability to put enough food on the table. In 61 per cent of Canadian municipalities, the cost of child care is rising more steeply than the cost of inflation, many Canadians are paying between $1,400 and $1,700 per month on child care.
People who are food insecure sometimes have to choose between food and medicine. Twenty per cent of Canadians struggle to cover the cost of their prescriptions, and Canadians pay more for prescriptions drugs per capita almost any other country.
Establishing a holistic national food policy with clear, funded objectives and targets is key to making our food system healthy, fair, and sustainable.
Learn more about the current plans and priorities of A Food Policy for Canada and read our response.
School Food Program
Canada is one of the only developed countries without a national school nutrition program. National school nutrition programs can promote healthy eating habits, support student health and wellness, and contribute to student learning.
Northern Food Policy
Food insecurity rates in Canada are highest in the north. The Nunavut Food Security Coalition estimates that 70 per cent of Inuit living in Nunavut are food insecure.
See the full platform comparison. Read our questionnaires with the NDP, the Liberals, and the Green Party.
For information on other issues, check out the party platform analyses compiled by the CBC and Maclean’s.