Newcomers to Canada, Food Security and the Local Food Systems

Canada plans to welcome nearly 1.5 million new permanent residents over the next few years. Is Metro Vancouver ready to provide the necessary support and ensure food security among our newcomer population?

The Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS) in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) are conducting a study on local food access among newcomers to Canada in the Metro Vancouver area. The main goals of this project are (1) to advance our understanding of food access, need, and their interest in local food system participation, and (2) to create dialogues among key stakeholders to support newcomers in their journeys through a new food environment.

Results from this study will help provide information on unique needs and barriers to local food access faced by newcomers. The knowledge gained from this study will contribute to the ongoing efforts by service provider organizations (SPOs) to design and implement programs and resources to appropriately serve refugees and immigrants in need. 

Research Methodology

The study is divided into three phases:

  • Phase One: Newcomers' experiences (Data collection through survey and focus group discussions to investigate newcomers' challenges and barriers in food access and their interests in local food system participation)
  • Phase Two: Local government and Service Provider Organizations' policies and activities (Conducting in-depth interviews with key stakeholders such as planners and staff from service provider organizations to provide an overview of current policy environment and supports offered to newcomers)
  • Phase three: Creating dialogues on newcomers and the local food systems (Forming the Immigrant Women Food Policy group and hosting a series of dialogues to disseminate research results and further the discussions) 

Research Results

Please click on the links below to access document and video files.

Outreach videos:

Contact Information:

Principal Investigator: Dr. Wallapak Polasub, ISFS

Co-principal Investigator: Ms. Anastasia Gaisenok, PIRS

Research assistants: Ms. Emily Burkholder and Ms. Beth Clark 



This project is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Vancouver Foundation, and Metrovancouver

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