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Rising Price of Food Threatens to Adversely Affect Poverty Rates in Canada: Government Memo

Rising Price of Food Threatens to Adversely Affect Poverty Rates in Canada: Government Memo

Rising Price of Food Threatens to Adversely Affect Poverty Rates in Canada: Government Memo

According to an internal government memo, food inflation is soaring that it threatens to reverse the rising poverty rate in the country.

The Ministry of Social Development’s memo called “Food in Schools” says that an average 11% increase in food prices “could impact Canada’s poverty rate” over the next few years.

The national poverty rate fell from 10.3% in 2019 to 6.4% in 2020, according to the memo. This is thanks to the tax-free Canadian Child Benefit and various pandemic relief programs that funded Canadians during COVID.

“The significant reduction in poverty between 2019 and 2020 could be largely attributed to temporary Covid-19 emergency income assistance,” it said.

A Sept. 27 memo obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter said, “Rising food prices will be reflected in Canada’s poverty rate.”

“As food prices rise, poverty margins are likely to persist,” he said.

Statistics Canada showed that food prices rose 11% in December 2022 compared to the same timeframe in 2021. Overall, food prices rose 9.8% in 2022, the highest since 1981.

The average family of four is expected to spend more than $300 a week on food this year, according to Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab and professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University. .

Food prices in 2023 will be even higher than in 2022, with the average food cost for a family of four (men and women ages 31-50, boys ages 14-18, and girls ages 9-13) at $1065.60.

The memo shows government officials are still working on a promised nationwide school feeding program. It is difficult to implement the program because of the challenges.

The idea was first mentioned in a 2021 ministerial mandate that said the government would “develop a national school feeding policy and work towards a nutritious meal program for schools nationwide.”

“There is an uneven patchwork of programming across the country, reaching approximately 1 in 5 or 21% of school-age children,” the memo says. “Many children’s needs are not adequately met.”

“With the exception of reserve Indigenous peoples, school feeding programs are under the jurisdiction of states and territories,” the memo said. “However, the Canadian government is providing some funding to support school feeding initiatives.”

Blacklock’s Reporter points out that the New Democratic Party’s election platform, Ready for Better, campaigned in 2021 on the promise of a nationwide school lunch program. If NDP says “[g]Make healthy food accessible to every child in Canada. ”

Charlebois said food prices for most items are unlikely to fall for the foreseeable future. Over the past 12 months, food inflation has outpaced general inflation.

“That’s a real concern,” Charlevoix told the Epoch Times.

“There are two necessities of life: housing and food. These are the two things people need to survive, so obviously rising prices are a big concern.

“It’s probably the most expensive food item ever, but that’s the effect of inflation.”

Marnie Cathcart is a reporter based in Edmonton.

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