›› Laurel Collins, MP
In a country as prosperous as Canada, people shouldn’t be left to struggle without the food they need. Every Canadian should have access to affordable, fresh, and nutritious food, yet 4.4 million people continue to face barriers due to rising food insecurity.
Food banks, while necessary in our current context, are a sign that our government has failed Canadians. People have been pushed into extreme food insecurity due to the lack of adequate federal supports and services and the pandemic has only exposed and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities. In Canada, 10% of white households face food insecurity but this percentage jumps to 28% if you are of black or Indigenous descent.
Food security is an issue close to my heart, prior to becoming your Member of Parliament I sat on the Victoria Urban Food Table board, advocating for food security policies and actions. As your MP I have continued this work in Ottawa and have been calling on the Liberals to develop a national food policy and roll out a strategy to reduce food waste. Furthermore, we want to support farmers who are on the front lines of fighting climate change and food insecurity by implementing a national soil strategy which will help to maintain, enhance, and rebuild the capacity of soils to produce food.
According to UNICEF, as a country Canada ranked 37 out of 41 countries in terms of access to nutritious food for children and remains one of the only Organization for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD) nations without a national school food program. Canada’s current patchwork of school food programming is inadequate and reaches only a small percentage of students. I have long called for a Universal Healthy School Food Program to enable all students to have access to healthy meals at school, building on existing programs across the country and including food education to serve culturally appropriate, local, sustainable food to the fullest extent possible.
As your MP I have also been advocating for many measures that address the underlying root causes of food insecurity, including a guaranteed livable basic income, pharmacare, childcare, and meaningful action to address the food insecurity and affordability crisis in the north.