Feb 16, 2024

Honouring Black History Month

Every February, Canadians participate in Black History Month events and festivities that honour and celebrate the legacy and contributions of Black people in Canada.

Unfortunately, it is also a stark reminder that systemic discrimination still looms large in our country. One way it manifests is through food insecurity. 

Food bank use, and food insecurity more broadly, is driven by a lack of income.i However, because of enduring income inequality, not all households experience food insecurity equally. For example, Black households are 3.56 times more likely to be food insecure than white households.ii These inequities stem from systemic discrimination that results in barriers to education, housing, employment, health care, and social services.  

Children are not spared either. Research from PROOF also shows 36.6% of Black children live in food insecure households, compared to 12.4% of white children.iii This disparity can have lifelong impacts to health and wellbeing.  

Our Who’s Hungry 2023 survey showed that while Black communities make up 8% of Toronto’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) population, they made up 16% of food bank clients, indicating an overrepresentation. In contrast, there is an underrepresentation of clients who identify as white, compared to the population of Toronto – 25% and 49% respectively.  

Further, two thirds (66%) of Black survey respondents had missed a meal to pay for something else compared to 53% of non-Black survey respondents. Black survey respondents also had a median income of $1,020 in comparison to white survey respondents who had a median income of $1,201. According to the Toronto Foundation’s Vital Signs report, the Black community makes up the largest group of the working poor in Toronto and has the greatest representation in low-income neighborhoods across the city.iv 

The Government of Canada has announced that the 2024 theme for Black History Month is: “Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build,” to celebrate the rich past and present contributions and accomplishments of Black people in Canada, as well as to embrace new opportunities for the future.

As we mark Black History Month, we are reminded that deep systemic racism fuels racialized income inequality in Canada.v  No one should go hungry or experience barriers to food. To achieve the right to food, it is our collective responsibility to stand against systemic discrimination and inequity. 

Please join us in learning more and celebrating Black communities in Toronto: 

Filed under:
Related Posts