There are over 5.8 million people in Canada that struggle with food insecurityi, lacking the resources they require to access food. The impact on Black and Indigenous Peoples is especially egregious, with rates of food insecurity 2.5x higher than the national averageii.

As a shared value enterprise, Maple Leaf Foods is committed to creating social value through advancing enduring solutions to reduce food insecurity. The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (“the Centre”), a registered charity, works collaboratively across sectors to address this systemic issue. This includes meeting the immediate needs of people by supporting capacity building in the food security sector, investing in innovative projects with the potential for scale reach, while advocating for critical public policies to achieve systemic solutions and population level impact.

Maple Leaf Foods is committing a further $10 million over the next five years to advance the work of the Centre and its partners. This will bring Maple Leaf’s investment to $20 million since the Centre was launched in late 2016. Including staff time, other resource supports and product donations, the company invests approximately 4% of pre-tax profits to support social impact work, which is core to its focus on creating shared value that benefits communities, the environment, shareholders and other stakeholders.

Michael H. McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, and honorary chair of the Centre, is personally contributing an additional $2.5 million over the next five years, bringing his total support of the Centre’s work to over $5 million.

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“Food insecurity will not be solved by food charity. The Centre works with others to raise awareness of this issue, break the silence and stigma, and advocate for critical public policy reforms to achieve sustainable change,” said Lynda Kuhn, senior vice-president and chair of the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security. “This generous support from Maple Leaf and Mr. McCain will support the extraordinary work of many organizations that are bringing research, advocacy and community engagement to reduce hunger and advance social justice.”

Despite notable reductions in poverty since the federal government launched its Poverty Reduction Strategy, rates of food insecurity continue to rise, affecting 15.8% of people in Canada including one in five childreni. Income level is by far the strongest predictor of food security, combined with geographic, social, health and knowledge barriers. The outcome is devastating. Food insecurity is associated with a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, higher health care costs, mental health impacts, increased social isolation and impaired academic performance.