Setting out a measurable road map to end poverty: Food Banks Canada’s Poverty Report Cards

Backed by our research and analysis, Food Banks Canada works to ensure that governments are taking meaningful action to address the root causes of food bank use – which are poverty and low incomes.

This is particularly urgent as we’re seeing food bank visits continue to skyrocket, and food insecurity and poverty on the rise all across the country.

With so many Canadians struggling, we have to ask ourselves what each government is doing to help.

Calling for collective effort from every level of government

With an issue as complex as poverty, it can be a challenge to clearly measure how much a government is doing to put people on the road to a better future.

It is even harder to compare different governments to each other, to see which ones are addressing the issues and which ones need to make bolder changes.

To help compile poverty reduction efforts across the country and highlight just how far we have to go, Food Banks Canada is launching the new Poverty Report Cards initiative, which calls for much-needed action from all levels of government.

For our inaugural year, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have been graded based on how they compare with each other on experiences of poverty, statistical measurements of poverty, standards of living, and progress on passing anti-poverty legislation.

According to Phil Ozga, Chief Network and Government Relations Officer at Food Banks Canada, these report cards will allow people from across the country to see the grade their province has been given in poverty reduction efforts and how it compares to other governments in Canada.

“Until now, information about poverty has been scattered across the country and difficult to compare from government to government. Now, Food Banks Canada has developed an objective way to compare the progress of every government over time, focusing on providing governments with tangible ways to improve and prioritize poverty reduction efforts,” Ozga explains. “Poverty in Canada cannot be resolved by focusing on one provincial government or just the federal government. We need a collective effort from every level of government in Canada, and this report allows us to see who is pulling their weight, and who is falling behind.” 

To guide this experience, Food Banks Canada has developed an interactive digital map that brings together, in one place, a range of metrics and measurements of poverty at a provincial, territorial, and national level.

The full series of interactive report cards provides detailed statistics, analysis, and policy recommendations that Food Banks Canada will update year over year to hold governments to account.

“Behind every statistic is a person or a family that’s struggling to put food on the table – but that doesn’t have to be the Canada of the future,” explains Kirstin Beardsley, Chief Executive Officer, Food Banks Canada. “This report not only highlights the deep gaps in our current social safety nets, but it also provides a road map for every level of government. We can build a Canada where no one goes hungry by asking our governments to take bold and focused action where people need help most.”