Editor’s note: In Context is a new series designed to inform and educate you on Heifer’s work in each country we have a presence. Every two weeks we’ll tackle a different country and examine unique situations related to hunger and poverty, how Heifer works to address them as well as take some time to explore local culture and traditions.
Population: 34 million
Native Greeting: Quanuq itpin? (Inuvialuliktum for How areyou?)
Official language: English and French
Local currency: Canadian dollar
Canada is the second largest country in the world but thelargest to border only one other country. With the continental United States tothe south, Canada is located in northern North America with the North Atlanticon the east, North Pacific on the west and the Arctic Ocean on the north.
|Photo by alexindigo courtesy of Creative Commons
90% of the 34 million people that live there live within 100 miles of the US border where the climate is mostly temperate. Canada reachesarctic and sub-arctic temperature in the north. In the west, the landscape ismostly plains and mountains with lowlands in the south.
Despite Canada being ranked #6 on the Human Development Index, the country has an alarmingly high rate of povertyand homelessness, nearly 16% of Canadians live in poverty and over 3 millionpeople live in food insecure households.
Among the poor, the indigenous populations in particular are at high-riskof malnutrition and hunger due to wage disparity in urban centers coupled withrising unemployment rates, high cost of nutritious food on reservations andlack of education.
Did you know…
- A basket of healthy food costs twice as much in the norththan in the south.
- Nearly half of the aboriginal population living in majorCanadian cities live in poverty.
- In 2001, only 8% of the 25-34age group of Aboriginal peoples had a completed university degree, while 28% ofall Canadians did.
- Rural farmers are athigh risk of losing their land and livelihoods to largecorporations.
Heifer’s approach in Canada
A growing interest in organic farming and eating local provides a positive opportunity for change.
The Heifer Canada approach has grown and evolved over the years and projects nowspan three primary areas of focus: family farm preservation, First Nationsagriculture, and urban and rural community food security.
The foundationof Heifer’s efforts in Canada has always been the partnerships it establisheswith those in genuine need. This, combined with the rapid decline of farmersacross the country demands a continued strong presence of Heifer’s work inCanada. Heifer Canada began in 1980. They currently have 17 projectsand have assisted more than 2,000 families to date.
Livestock portfolio: Apiaries (bees), chickens, worms, cows,horses, pigs, turkeys, fruit trees and vegetable seeds
Issues addressed: Poverty among the indigenous and urbancommunities, land preservation, loss of biodiversity and environmentaldegradation.