Posts Tagged ‘right to food’

Do Canadians have a right to food?

June 11, 2012

Is it enough?

At the Emergency Food Hamper program, we believe everyone has a right to food. That’s why we do the work we do. Incidentally, the United Nations also believes in the right to food, as its enshrined in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Recently, they sent Olivier de Schutter, the special rapporteur for the right to food, (visit his website here) to visit Canada (read about his visit here and see what he had to say on CBC here). A special rapporteur is a fancy name for someone who investigates how well countries are living up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His report (which you can read in full here) criticizes the Canadian government for not doing enough to ensure everyone’s right to food, and outlines what he believes to be some action items the government of Canada needs to take in order to increase food security.

Some of De Schutter’s recommendations really hit home for our program. For example, he recommended raising the minimum wage to a living wage. It’s really tough for people to make ends meet if they have children and are working minimum wage. We frequently see people who are working part time or full time but with children and extra expenses (such as medical costs if they do not have health benefits at work) it can be hard to find room in the budget for food. A living wage can be defined as the amount a single person needs to make in order to live modestly but comfortably in their community. For Waterloo Region in 2007, Opportunities Waterloo Region calculated this to be $13.62 per hour, full time (see their site with articles and resources here). For families or single parents, this amount would need to be a bit higher to accommodate the needs of kids. (more…)