Second Harvest’s report on the Canada’s Invisible Food Network with some surprising stats about food insecurity and poverty in Canada

Some surprising stats about food insecurity and poverty in Canada:

  • Did you know that there are four times more food charities in Canada than there are grocery stores? For every Loblaws, Metro, Safeway or Northern store in your community there are four churches, temples, mosques, senior centres, schools, or social programs providing food for people who may not have the means to buy it.
  • There are more than 61,000 community organizations in Canada providing food in their communities.  It’s a shocking number, especially considering there are only 15,344 grocery stores in Canada (which includes everything from big-box retailers to your local corner grocer).
  • A massive, invisible patchwork system supports vulnerable Canadians. Second Harvest’s investigation from 2021 shows that about 6.7 million Canadians rely on community food organizations. This represents almost 20 percent of our population, roughly equivalent to the population of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta combined.
  • Junk food is more available than fresh produce in the invisible food network.
  • The number of Canadians who experience hunger has been increasing for decades. As a result of the pandemic, that rate increased at an even faster pace than before. During the first year of the pandemic, the total amount of food provided to people through local community food organizations increased by 61 percent, to just under 10 billion pounds. This was driven by the fact that the number of people using these services increased by an astounding 72 percent.
  • The report breaks stats down by province, but below is a snapshot for Ontario:
    • While Ontario had a reduced shortfall vs 2019, there were still almost 2 million people who needed support with accessing food in 2021.
    • Number of grocery stores: 5,368
    • Number of charitable food organizations: 21,502
    • Estimated number of people served: 1,878,225
    • Food supply vs. food demand in Ontario, unmet demands in pounds 2019: 121,870,016 vs. 2021: 75,224,815

Please see the following link to Second Harvest’s report on the Canada’s Invisible Food Network: