Black Ontarians at greater risk of food insecurity – report

KITCHENER, Ont.  — Ontario NDP Black Caucus Chair Laura Mae Lindo says the return of the Legislative Assembly on Monday comes with a new urgency to deal with discrimination, following a report showing that 28 per cent of Black Canadians are now at risk of going hungry, compared to 10 per cent of white Canadians.

Laura Mae Lindo

The figures were  revealed in a new study by the University of Toronto and the non-profit group FoodShare at a FoodShare  conference last week on  food justice and equity.

Lindo, Member of the Provincial Parliament for Kitchener Centre, said the figures can’t be explained away by higher poverty rates.

“There is a direct link between race and food insecurity in Canada for the first time, and it confirms what we had long suspected,” she noted.

“It’s especially important in Ontario, where Doug Ford’s cuts have squeezed people when it comes to the cost of basic essentials, and Black families have been disproportionately hurt.

 “That means Black children are more likely to go to school hungry, and Black parents are more likely to be forced to choose between paying the hydro bill and buying groceries this week.”

According to the study, one in eight Canadian households — or four million people — is experiencing food insecurity. But when broken down into white and Black households — before adjusting for income, education and other factors — just 10 per cent of white households are food-insecure, while more than 28 per cent of Black households have trouble affording the food they need, the study found.

After adjusting for external factors, Black households are still 1.88 times more likely to have trouble paying for the food they need, the study pointed out.

The findings of the study are based on data pooled from five Canadian community health surveys from 2004 to 2014 and include responses from almost 500,000 individuals. The study focuses on respondents who answered all the questions on household food security and who reported their ethno-racial identity as either Black or white.

Lindo said Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals did far too little, creating programs and committees but not taking action — but Ford has taken things from bad to worse.