Latest updates 09/03/2021

A growing number of Canadians are struggling to put good food on the table. During COVID-19, food insecurity increased by nearly 39 per cent. It is now affecting 1 in 7 Canadians. These numbers are much higher for Black, Indigenous and racialized Canadians, as well as for single adults.

With a fast-approaching federal election, it’s critical to assess how each party plans to address poverty and food insecurity. Our Beyond Hunger report outlines actions the next federal government can take to tackle food insecurity.

Food charity will not solve the problem. Rather, we need solutions that will put money into people’s pockets and strengthen social programs such as affordable housing and child care.

Below we’ve outlined what Canada’s five largest parties have committed to in their platforms.

People are food insecure because they lack the money to put good food on the table. Federal supports that increase incomes can reduce food insecurity. For example, the Canada Child Benefit has reduced severe food insecurity among families with children by 30 per cent.

Putting more money in people’s pockets

Liberals

  • Boost Old Age Security by 10 per cent for seniors 75 and up.
  • Increase supports for low-income seniors by $500 per year for singles and $750 per year for couples.
  • Expand the Canada Workers Benefit to more low-wage workers and make enrollment automatic so everyone who qualifies can receive it.
  • Support caregivers with up to $1,250 per year.

Conservatives

  • Double the Canada Workers Benefit for low-wage workers to $2,800 per year for singles and $5,000 per year for families and double the Canada Workers Benefit disability supplement to $1,500.

NDP

  • Lift all seniors and people with disabilities out of poverty.

Green Party

  • Create a guaranteed livable income for everyone in Canada.

Bloc Québécois

  • Not mentioned in platform.

Reforming Employment Insurance (EI)

Liberals

  • Review the EI program based on consultations running until October 8.
  • Create a new EI benefit for self-employed workers.
  • Make sure gig work counts toward EI.
  • Establish an EI Career Insurance Benefit to support people who are laid off and need to start a new career.

Conservatives

  • Launch a Super EI program with a 75 per cent income replacement rate (instead of 55 per cent) when a province goes into recession.
  • Require gig economy companies to make contributions equivalent to Canada Pension Plan and EI into a portable Employee Savings Account workers can withdraw from.
  • Increase EI sickness benefits from 15 to 52 weeks for people with serious illnesses.

NDP

  • Create a low-income supplement so no one on EI makes less than $2,000 per month.
  • Make EI available to people who leave jobs to go back to school, take care of their children or for health reasons.
  • Extend EI sickness benefits from 15 to 50 weeks.

Green Party

  • Not mentioned in platform.

Bloc Québécois

  • Extend EI sickness benefits from 15 to 50 weeks.
  • Reform the EI program with a particular focus on self-employed and seasonal workers.

The cost of living is increasing, and incomes are not keeping up. Social programs such as affordable housing, child care and pharmacare can help people make ends meet.

Affordable housing

Liberals

  • Increase funding for Indigenous housing by $2 billion.
  • Help affordable housing providers acquire land and buildings.
  • Appoint a Federal Housing Advocate to work toward ending chronic homelessness.

Conservatives

  • Use a Housing First approach (which involves finding people housing as a first method of intervention) to combat homelessness.
  • Create a Northern Housing Strategy.

NDP

  • Create 500,000 affordable housing units over 10 years.
  • Provide support to people struggling to afford rent.
  • End homelessness within a decade.

Green Party

  • Invest in the construction and operation of 50,000 supportive housing units over 10 years.
  • Build and acquire a minimum of 300,000 units of deeply affordable non-market, co-op and non-profit housing over 10 years.
  • Declare housing affordability and homelessness a national emergency.
  • Develop and implement an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.
  • Appoint a Federal Housing Advocate and appoint a Minister of Housing.
  • Establish a national moratorium on evictions until the pandemic is over.
  • Create national standards on rent controls.
  • Support Housing First initiatives.

Bloc Québécois

  • Increase spending on affordable, community and social housing to one per cent of federal revenue.

Child care

Liberals

  • Create a national $10 per day childcare program within five years and reduce fees by 50 per cent within one year.
  • Create 250,000 new childcare spaces.
  • Hire 40,000 new early childhood educators.

Conservatives

  • Provide up to $6,000 per year to cover childcare costs.

NDP

  • Create a national $10 per day childcare program.

Green Party

  • Increase funding for child care to one per cent of GDP annually.
  • Work toward a universal, affordable childcare program.

Bloc Québécois

  • Not mentioned in platform.

Pharmacare

Liberals

  • Have started moving toward a national pharmacare program, but no new investments in platform.

Conservatives

  • Not mentioned in platform.

NDP

  • Create a national pharmacare program starting in 2022 with a $10-billion annual federal investment.

Green Party

  • Create a universal pharmacare program.

Bloc Québécois

  • Not mentioned in platform.

Racialized and Indigenous Canadians experience food insecurity at a much higher rate than white Canadians. Federal policies must address systemic racism and invest in solutions for groups disproportionately affected by food insecurity.

Nutrition North Canada

Nutrition North Canada is a federal program that subsidizes healthy food in the North, but it has been highly criticized. Rates of food insecurity in the North are by far the highest in the country. This is particularly true for Inuit, 76 per cent of whom live in food-insecure households.

Liberals

  • Continue to support harvesters and make Nutrition North more transparent and responsive to Inuit needs.

Conservatives

  • Improve Nutrition North.

NDP

  • Reform Nutrition North to improve food access, including to country foods, and to turn it into a social program rather than subsidizing food retailers.

Green Party

  • Consult with residents on Arctic farming and work with non-profit groups to build greenhouses or hydroponic towers.

Bloc Québécois

  • Not mentioned in platform.

Supporting Indigenous foodways

Liberals

  • Not mentioned in platform.

Conservatives

  • Not mentioned in platform.

NDP

  • Support Indigenous food sovereignty.

Green Party

  • Invest in Indigenous-led sustainable fisheries and involve Indigenous governments in decision-making around fisheries.

Bloc Québécois

  • Not mentioned in platform.

Supporting Black communities

Liberals

  • Move forward with the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund to support Black-led community organizations.

Conservatives

  • Not mentioned in platform.

NDP

  • Prioritize the collection of race-based data.
  • Review the employment equity regime to close the racialized wage gap.

Green Party

  • Implement the recommendations of the Report of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its Mission to Canada.

Bloc Québécois

  • Not mentioned in platform.

While food programs weren’t featured in our Beyond Hunger report because there is little evidence they improve food insecurity, there are some interesting announcements in the platforms.

Liberals

  • Create a national school food program with a $1-billion investment over five years.
  • Create a No-Waste Food Fund.

Conservatives

  • Not mentioned in platform.

NDP

  • Create a national school food program.
  • Support local food hubs.
  • Create a national food waste strategy.

Green Party

  • Support investments in local markets and urban agriculture.
  • Support the development of a food waste strategy.
  • Add a 10 per cent tax on sugary drinks.

Bloc Québécois

  • Not mentioned in platform.