Food security and Canada’s agricultural system challenged by COVID-19 by B. James Deaton & Brady J. Deaton:

The effect of COVID‐19 on Canadian food security is examined from two different perspectives. COVID‐19 creates a unique “income shock” that is expected to increase the prevalence of household food insecurity. This food insecurity can be measured by utilizing the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). More fundamentally, COVID‐19 heightens household concern about the capacity of the Canadian food system to ensure food availability. Despite surges in demand and supply chain disruptions, we currently do not observe broad, rapid appreciation in food prices. This suggests that there is an adequate supply of food for the near term. There is less certainty over intermediate and longer time periods because so many factors are in flux, particularly the rate of increases in sicknesses and deaths across the country and globally. Data on these health factors and elements of the food supply chain are needed to predict beyond a short time frame. In this regard, we discuss three ongoing considerations—ease of capital flows, international exchange, and maintaining transportation—that will help ensure food availability in the longer run.

This paper examines the effect of the COVID‐19 pandemic on Canadian food security. The loss of income to Canadian households and challenges to the food supply chain are our primary focus, as those are the only factors that we can readily speak to with any degree of confidence. The loss of income associated with COVID‐19 is expected to increase measures of food insecurity as derived from the Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM) of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), conducted by Statistics Canada. Importantly, by this measure, the income shock associated with COVID‐19 will likely increase the prevalence of households identified as food insecure.