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Food Security

The Population & Public Health program works with a variety of partners to improve food security in BC.
Our activities
PPH leads and facilitates collaboration across government, health authorities, and non-government sectors to: 
  • support food security programs 
  • influence changes in policies and practices to improve food security 
  • reduce food insecurity
  • uphold Indigenous food sovereignty 
PPH’s food security role started in 2005 to support the health authorities with implementation of a health promotion initiative called the Community Food Action Initiative (CFAI). PPH coordinated activities, program evaluation, developed resources, and collated evidence. 

The scope of food security work now extends beyond the CFAI to address multiple strategies that impact food security as outlined in the Ministry of Health core public health program paper on food security. Examples of activities include:
  • Collaborating with partners to better understand and support food security and Indigenous food sovereignty in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
  • Providing BC specific definitions for food security and food insecurity to inform actions internal and external to the health sector.
  • Leading collaboration and initiatives that aim to increase knowledge and inform policy and practice related to climate change and food security. 
  • Hosting the BC Food Security Gateway and community of practice with a lens of justice and equity while providing access to food security resources and fostering the BC food security community.
  • Amplifying Indigenous voices to guide and inform practice as Indigenous self determination and transmission of traditional knowledge are essential to adaptive action for food security and food sovereignty in BC.
  • Collecting, analyzing, and reporting on various measures of food security in BC.

Climate change and food security

People’s physical and mental health and wellbeing are closely interconnected with the wellbeing of the environments in which they reside and connect to.  Health is put at risk as climate change impacts local and global food systems and food security. Rising temperatures, increasing droughts and more frequent extreme weather events threaten to disrupt agricultural activities, locally harvested seafood, traditional Indigenous and non-Indigenous hunting, gathering and supply chains. There are implications to the variety and nutritional quality of food that is available, accessible and affordable which disproportionately impacts people living in remote indigenous and non indigenous communities.

The Food Security Program at the BCCDC is currently leading a project to learn more about these climate related impacts on food security in remote Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in BC. This will help inform future food security policy and programs.

BC Food Security Gateway

The BC Food Security Gateway (the Gateway) consists of both a website and an active Community of Practice (CoP). 

The Gateway website is meant to inform and link you to food security projects, initiatives, and organizations in British Columbia as well as publications, tools, guides, and news – so that you, too, can contribute to building food security in BC. The CoP was established to support, facilitate and celebrate the building of knowledge, competence and partnerships to address food security in BC.

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) manages the Gateway website in partnership with the Public Health Association of BC (PHABC).

Reports & resources

Food Costs and Climate Change Impact Stories from Remote BC Communities 

This project is a special supplement to the Food Costing in BC 2022 report. This project aims to share experiences of food costs, food access and the impacts of climate change from people living in remote Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Read the report and stories to learn how issues of food cost and climate change are being described by people in six remote communities in BC.

Released: June 2024

Report: Food Costs and Climate Change – Impact Stories from Remote BC Communities [link]

Website: Food Access in a Changing Climate - stories from six remote communities in BC [link]

Priority health equity indicators for BC: Household food insecurity

Analysis of household food insecurity in British Columbia, an update to the 2016 report. Released: October 2023

Archived reports and infographics

Analysis of household food insecurity in British Columbia, completed in partnership with researchers at the University of Toronto. Released: August 2016

Food costing in BC

Food costing resources

Food costing involves the biannual collection of food prices in grocery stores across BC in order to calculate the average monthly cost of an adequately nutritious diet. Regional health authority staff and volunteers collect food prices. Food costing was conducted in May/June 2022 using the National Nutritious Food Basket developed by Health Canada.

Food costing reports

This report is for anyone interested in household food insecurity and who wants to assess the affordability of a healthy diet. It provides food cost data from across BC based on the National Nutritious Food Basket. The report also provides background on household food insecurity, the related health implications and calls to action to address household food insecurity.

The food costing methodology largely excludes remote and Indigenous communities, where there are few full-service grocery stores. It also does not capture costs such as transportation or cost of accessing traditional foods. BCCDC is leading a project to learn more about food cost and impacts of climate change in remote Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Stories from communities and recommendations will be shared later in 2023.

Released: May 2023

Regional infographics

Archived reports

Defining food security and food insecurity in BC

This project sought to develop a clear and consistent understanding of the two concepts from the public health perspective in BC. These definitions form a foundation from which public health and others outside the health sector can take action to address food security and food insecurity.

Rural, remote and Indigenous food security in BC

This policy brief reviews evidence on the drivers and consequences of food availability, accessibility and affordability in rural, remote and Indigenous communities that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and shares evidence and stories from BC on food security challenges that have surfaced or been amplified by the pandemic. Released: September 2022.

Food security indicators

This work will replace the indicators developed in 2009 with evidence-based indicators that better reflect the context and breadth of food security work occurring in B.C. The indicators will inform policy and practice by demonstrating the current state of food security/household food insecurity in B.C.; reflect the impact of food security initiatives; and highlight where gaps exist and further work is needed to improve food security.

Framework for food security indicators

BCCDC developed the framework to guide the revision of existing, and development of new, food security indicators for B.C. It divides food security into three key elements and can help illustrate the causal relationships and interconnectedness between indicators once they are developed.

Food security indicators: Review of literature

This document focuses on the literature review process and findings. The findings are summarized under four key themes identified as priorities by the health authorities and the Ministry of Health. The literature summarizes the available evidence for potential indicators and indicator areas.

Pre-2016 resources

Please contact to request any resources published prior to 2016

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