Saskatchewan leads Canada’s provinces on The Conference Board of Canada’s first provincial food report card assessing the performance of their food systems and food sectors. Canada’s Food Report Card: Provincial Performance presents data and analysis on five categories: industry prosperity, healthy food and diets, food safety, household food security, and environmental sustainability.
Ottawa, May 18, 2017—Saskatchewan leads Canada’s provinces on The Conference Board of Canada’s first provincial food report card assessing the performance of their food systems and food sectors. Canada’s Food Report Card: Provincial Performance presents data and analysis on five categories: industry prosperity, healthy food and diets, food safety, household food security, and environmental sustainability.
Saskatchewan excels with “A” grades in four of five categories: food safety, industry prosperity, household food security, and environmental sustainability. Its only “B” grade is awarded on the healthy food and diets category. British Columbia is also among the top performers. It leads all provinces on healthy food and diets, and environmental sustainability, earning “A” marks on the two categories. Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario are middle-of-the-pack performers, while Atlantic provinces trail with the lowest grades.
- Saskatchewan is the best performing province on the food report card. British Columbia receives top marks on two categories: healthy food and diets and environmental sustainability.
- Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario are middle-of-the-pack food performers.
- New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland trail with the lowest grades.
“As a developed nation, most Canadians enjoy access to foods that are safe, nutritious, affordable, and available to everyone, produced in ways that are environmentally sustainable,” said Jean-Charles Le Vallée, Associate Director, Centre for Food, The Conference Board of Canada. “The food report card highlights areas where the provinces are doing well, but more importantly points out areas where improvements are needed.”
Two Provinces Standout Performers on Healthy Food and Diets
British Columbia and Quebec lead when it comes to healthy food and diets, while Newfoundland and Labrador is the weakest provincial performer in this category. Newfoundland receives “D” grades for most of the indicators used to assess diet-related chronic diseases and health conditions. The province has the highest rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure/diagnosed hypertension, and gastrointestinal disease prevalence. Many Canadians across all provinces consume more calories and sodium than they need, and do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish. As a result, most provinces earn “D” grades on these four indicators. On a more positive note, Canadians across all provinces are consuming less than, or close to, the recommended limit for daily dietary energy intake from added sugar and saturated fat.
Four Provinces Get “A” Grades on Food Security
When it comes to household food security, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador receive overall “A” grades in this area. Most Canadians are food secure and have few problems accessing or affording food. However, for approximately 4 million Canadians food insecurity is an issue. In particular, single parents, Indigenous people and low-income households are among the most food insecure Canadians. Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan have the largest share of single parents with children experiencing moderate to severe food insecurity, while Prince Edward Island has the highest rate of child food insecurity. Food is also least affordable in P.E.I., where nearly 10 per cent of residents reported that they could not afford balanced meals or had run out of food, with no funds available to purchase more. The report card shows that households in British Columbia and Ontario are more vulnerable to food emergencies, while food bank usage was highest in Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Two Prairie Provinces Top Performers on Food Safety
On the food safety category, Saskatchewan and Manitoba earn “A”s, while Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador receive “B”s. Meanwhile, P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia are the lowest ranking provinces with “D” grades. Some 4 million Canadians suffer from food-borne illnesses acquired within Canada every year. P.E.I. has the highest rate of food-borne illness incidences, while Quebec had the lowest number of food recalls per 100,000 population relative to its peers.
Only Two Provinces Earn “A”s on Environmental Sustainability
Looking at provinces’ performance relating to food environmental sustainability, only Saskatchewan and British Columbia earn overall “A”s for this category. At the other end of the spectrum are Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador with “D” grades. The Canadian food system wastes approximately 40 per cent of all food, equivalent to $31 billion annually. Meanwhile, Canadians throw out the equivalent of one or more grocery bags of food each week. New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and Alberta had the highest levels of food waste among the provinces. Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec are the top performers in household organic waste diversion, while Alberta and New Brunswick lag the other provinces.
Saskatchewan only Province to Get an “A” on Industry Prosperity
Saskatchewan is Canada’s strongest provincial industry prosperity performer and is the only province to get an “A” in this category. It receives ten “A” grades and five “B” grades out of 17 industry prosperity metrics. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador receive “D” grades. British Columbia also earns a “D” on industry prosperity and ranks last among the provinces. B.C. receives lower grades than most peer provinces for industry prosperity, in part due to the category’s greater focus on farming and agriculture. The province receives “D” grades for all but two farm-related metrics. All other provinces fall in the middle with “C” grades.
In all, 63 food performance metrics were used to evaluate the overall food performance of the provinces. Definitions for the indicators and the full report are available from our e-Library.
Canada’s Food Report Card: Provincial Performance was prepared for The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Food Observatory (CFO). The Observatory monitors progress on improving food performance, spurs the required changes, and encourages action to make the Canadian Food Strategy a reality.