Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Marie-Claude Bibeau, along with Élisabeth Brière, MP for Sherbrooke, Que., has announced a $100-million top-up for the Emergency Food Security Fund.
Minister Bibeau says that the COVID-19 pandemic has meant even greater uncertainty for Canadians who are unsure of where they will find their next meal.
“Even with the important benefits our Government put in place to support those who lost their incomes, our food banks and local food organizations have seen a spike in demand,” she says. “As we work to finish the fight against COVID-19, the Government of Canada is providing another $100 million in emergency assistance, in addition to the $200 million already allocated to these organizations over the past year, so they can continue helping vulnerable Canadians.”
The additional investment will provide more support for food banks and local food organizations who are coping with higher demand and fewer resources. Divided between Food Banks Canada, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, Breakfast Club of Canada, Salvation Army, and La Tablée des Chefs, these organizations will distribute funding to thousands of local food banks across Canada.
Local organizations may use the funding to purchase and distribute food and other basic necessities to meet emergency needs of vulnerable people. They may also use the funds to hire temporary help to cope with volunteer shortages or adapt operations to help keep workers, volunteers, and recipients safe.
Each organization will also dedicate a portion of its funding to projects that directly support underrepresented groups, to ensure equitable access to safe and healthy food. So far, the Emergency Food Security Fund has supported more than 4,700 local food initiatives across Canada, with over 1,050 initiatives directly supporting Indigenous organizations and communities.
One in seven Canadians lives in a household where there was food insecurity over a one-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic. This led more Canadians to turn to food banks to feed their families, with disproportionate impacts on the most vulnerable. The Government of Canada is committed to addressing the pandemic’s impacts by improving access to safe and nutritious food.
The Emergency Food Security Fund (EFSF) was first announced in April 2020. It provides funding to national and regional organizations, which in turn support food banks and local food organizations across Canada, to help improve access to food for people experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.