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N.S. has highest food insecurity in country as Canadians set to boycott Loblaw

By Caitlin Snow May 1, 2024 | 1:03 PM

Nova Scotia has the highest rate of food insecurity in the country, according to a news release from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

CCPA says the rates are alarming.

  • 28.9% of Nova Scotia are food insecure, which is the highest in the country;
  • 7.3% missing meals, reducing intake, going day(s) without food (severe food insecurity);
  • 15.4% reporting they compromise on the quality or quantity of food they consume (moderate food insecurity);
  • 6.1% worry about running out of food and/or have a limited selection (marginal food insecurity).
  • The highest rate of food insecurity by family type for lone parent families at 57.1%.
  • The highest rate of food insecurity by age is for children (under 18) at 40.5% up from 31.4 in 2021 – a 29% increase in one year.
  • Food insecurity is 37.5% among racialized households compared to non-racialized at 26.8%.

Executive Director of Adsum, Sheri Lecker says, these statistics are cause for shame and the province is failing tens of thousands, from children to seniors.

“These statistics are from 2022 and we know that things have continued to deteriorate in this province. We know the solutions. It is in their power and it’s the mandate of the Province of Nova Scotia to act.”

Lecker adds that the province is doing the worst job of providing the bare essentials for its citizens.

Premier says report is old

The premier of Nova Scotia, Tim Houston says the report is two years old and they have done a lot since then to combat food insecurity and poverty.

Houston says this includes investing $100 million in the budget to help the issue.

“The new income assistance disability supplement… an additional $300 per month, over 15,000 Nova Scotians who are income support will benefit from that.”

Houston adds in addition to that they are indexing income tax as well as a school lunch program, which is set to roll out in the fall in phases.

Minister not surprised by boycotts

Meanwhile, boycotts against Loblaw are expected this month as a result of high grocery prices.

Loblaw Companies Limited is one of Canada’s largest food retailers, operating over 2,400 stores across the country.

They own Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart and No Frills, to name just a few.

Federal Industry Minister Francois Philippe Champaigne says Canadians are hurting and want to see action.

“People want more choices which leads to better prices. I always said to the grocery chains in the country, listen to customers.”

He says he wants to provide more transparency and admits he has been talking to foreign discounters as an option to increase competition in the grocery market.

“There’s a lot of data that suggest that when you do that and when you have a new entrant, that puts pressures on price because you give more choice… and brings new supply chains that they are building now.”

Champaigne does admit he does not know if he is going to succeed, but it’s worth trying.