Salvation Army Research Finds 73% of Atlantic Canadians Experienced Food Insecurity in the Past Year

2023 Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis reveals growing demand for social services, allows The Salvation Army to better serve those in need.

HALIFAX, NS, Dec. 18, 2023 /CNW/ – New research from The Salvation Army Canada finds that Atlantic Canadians are struggling to meet their basic needs with inflation, food affordability and health concerns persisting as top issues. Single parents, caregivers and single-person households are facing the most pressure, demonstrating how these struggles are not felt equally by all Canadians.

The Salvation Army surveyed more than 1,500 Canadians to produce the 2023 Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis to better understand their attitudes, behaviours and experiences on issues such as the availability of housing and food, general affordability and related health outcomes. As one of the largest non-governmental direct providers of social services in Canada, this data helps The Salvation Army to quantify the demand for ongoing social services provided and helps the organization to better serve those in need.

The research shows Atlantic Canadians rank food security (73%), managing limited resources (71%) and their mental and physical well-being (55%) as top concerns.

These findings are in line with The Salvation Army’s internal data, which reveal an increase in the number of households seeking assistance, as well as individuals seeking clothing, furniture, emergency housing and winter coats.

“What’s clear from our research is that Canadians are struggling in every corner of Atlantic Canada, and they are worried about their families’ futures,” says Major Jamie Locke, Salvation Army Divisional Secretary for Public Relations. “The situation is particularly difficult for single parent families where parents are going without food to make ends meet.”

The report finds that Atlantic Canadians are hoping to see financial pressures ease somewhat over the next six months, but they are still expecting food security, limited financial resources, health issues and housing insecurity to persist. As a result, The Salvation Army expects to sustain current levels of service to support Canadians dealing with these ongoing challenges and will continue to leverage this data and internal metrics to help direct resources where they’re needed most.

Nationally, the report finds that single parent families are facing the highest degree of hardship across the country. While 25% of Canadians fear they do not have enough income to cover their basic needs, that number climbs to 40% for single parent households, single person households (31%) and caregivers (30%). Twenty-one per cent of respondents reported skipping or reducing the size of at least one meal because they cannot afford to buy groceries, but that number jumps to 45% among single parents. Twenty-two per cent of parents also reported eating less so their children or other family members could eat (44% among single parents).

In 2023, due to the ongoing impact of inflation, support for priority communities, individuals and families is as important as ever. While The Salvation Army offers assistance across a broad range of services, most supports provided were related to food assistance and meal programs.

“We understand this is a very difficult time for many Canadians,” says Locke. “The general lack of affordability is having a toll on the emotional, mental and physical well-being of our communities. These are our friends, family and neighbours, and an increasing number of them are turning to The Salvation Army for support.”

Last year, The Salvation Army helped more than 2.7 million people across Canada, providing 3.9 million meals, assisting 359,000 with Christmas food hampers and toys, and over 1.5 million people with food, clothing or practical help.

Survey Methodology:

The study was conducted from October 12th to 19th, 2023 among a nationally representative sample of 1,515 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender and region. Note: Canadians living in Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut were not included in the survey. The survey carries a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About The Salvation Army: 

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become one of the largest direct providers of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and in more than 130 countries around the world. Its community and social service activities include: hunger relief for individuals and families through food banks and feeding programs; shelter for people experiencing homelessness and support for those needing housing; rehabilitation for those struggling with substance-use recovery; long-term care and palliative care; Christmas assistance such as food hampers and toys; after-school programs, camps and school nutrition programs for children and youth; and life-skills classes, such as budgeting, cooking for a family, and anger management. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of people in your community. 

News releases, articles and updated information can be found at  

SOURCE The Salvation Army Maritime Division

Salvation Army Research Finds 73% of Atlantic Canadians Experienced Food Insecurity in the Past Year WeeklyReviewer

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