Food prices: Local, provincial and territorial food-related income support

Learn how local, provincial and territorial governments can increase healthy eating by providing food-related income support

Inside this healthy eating policy pack

Food-related income support


Food prices


Food-related income support 1,2

  • Government ensures food-related income support programs are for healthy foods 1
  • Reduce household food insecurity via poverty reduction policies 2

Degree of policy adoption*

Provinces and territories: LOW
31 Canadian municipalities:** LOW

Current action(s) in Canada

Provinces and territories

  • Each province and territory (except MB, PE) provides tax-free child or family benefits to eligible parents to supplement income.3 Some of these programs have increased annual benefits based on Consumer Price Index to adjust for inflation each year.
  • BC’s Employment and Assistance Regulation provides a nutrition supplement subsidy for cancer patients in employment assistance income.
  • ON’s Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit for Farmers encourages farmers to donate to food banks through tax credits.
  • Five provinces and territories have policies offering tax credits to farmers/operators (BC, ON, QC, NS, NU).

31 Canadian municipalities**

Opportunities for action

Several federal measures and/or programs are in place that support or provide a basis to improve food security including: Nutrition North Canada,4 Canada Child Tax Benefit, GST Tax Credit, Working Income Tax Benefit, and Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors.5

A federal food policy, as well as poverty reduction strategies and policies at the provincial/territorial level represent opportunities to improve access to healthy food and address food insecurity.1

Basic income guarantees, such as the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (ending March 2019),6 are examples of ways provinces and territories could improve food security and reduce poverty, among other desired outcomes.7

Municipalities have levers such as planning policies (e.g., official plans, land use planning and zoning bylaws) that could be strengthened to better support food security at the local level.8,9  In addition, federal and provincial/territorial poverty reduction policies provide broader support.1,10

* Levels of adoption:  LOW = very few jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; MEDIUM = some, but not all jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; HIGH = most jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action.

** Prevention Policies Directory captures information for 31 Canadian municipalities (18 largest municipalities in Canada, and at least 1-2 largest municipalities in all other provinces/territories).


1 Vanderlee L, Goorang S, Karbasy K, Schermel A, L’Abbe M. Creating healthier food environments in Canada: Current policies and priority actions – Summary report. Toronto; University of Toronto, 2017.

2 Cancer Care Ontario. (2016). Prevention System Quality Index. Retrieved from:

3 Government of Canada. Child and family benefits: Provincial and territorial programs. Retrieved from:

4 Government of Canada. Nutrition North Canada. Retrieved from:

5 Food Secure Canada. (2017). Summary table: FPT policy responses to food insecurity. Retrieved from:

6 Government of Ontario. Basic income pilot. Retrieved from:

7 Alberta Policy Coalition for Cancer Prevention (APCCP). (2017). Public policy to address household food insecurity. Retrieved from:

8 Canadian Institute of Planners. Healthy communities practice guide. Retrieved from:, pp 35-41

9 Minaker, L., Shuh, A., Olstad, D., Engler-Stringer, R., Black, J., & Mah, C. (2016). Retail food environments research in Canada: A scoping review. Can J Public Health, 107, eS4-eS13. doi:

10 Provincial Health Services Authority. (2018). Healthy built environment linkages toolkit. Retrieved from: