Household Food Insecurity Tool Kit for Healthcare Providers

This tool was developed by a group of GW OHT partners and was created to support GW OHT partners providers with screening for food insecurity in the Guelph-Wellington OHT.

The toolkit has three sections:
1. Screening Tools
2. Access to Food
3. Resources for Providers and Community Members

1. Screening Tools:

There are several options for screening for Food insecurity and the way in which each partner would like to approach this depends on a number of factors. Here are some options to support screening for food insecurity:

Health Equity Questionnaire – available on GW OHT website 
– Used by Community Health Centers across the Province
– Asks health equity (sociodemographic) data that reflets the social determinants of health
– Being used across the GW OHT by primary care and other providers
– Additional resources available to support its use
– Readily available in TELUS EMRs

Hunger Vital Sign 2 item screener
– Taken from the Canadian Community Health Survey Household Food Security Survey
– Evidence-based
To use this tool, add these two questions to existing screening/assessment/data collection
Within the past 12 months we worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more.”
(often true, sometimes true/never true)
“Within the past 12 months the food we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to get more”
(often true, sometimes true/never true)

Canadian Community Health Survey Household Food Security Survey – available here
– Gold-Standard for Screening
– Evidence-Based
– Full survey is long and needs ample time to be completed

Single Question Screening
– Can be added to any existing intake forms/data collection
– Question is taken from the Canadian Community Health Survey Household Food Security Survey

Which of the following statements best describes the food eaten in your household in the past 12 months, that is since September of last year?
A. You and other household members always had enough of the kinds of foods you wanted to eat
B. You and other household members had enough to eat, but not always the kinds of food you wanted
C.  Sometimes you and other household members did not have enough to eat
D. Often you and other household members didn’t have enough to eat

2. Access to Food

The best was to connect community members with accessible nutritious food is to provide the Poverty Task Force food access map:

Guelph and Wellington County Food Access Map | GW Poverty

The Poverty Task force also provides written food guides if interactive map is not accessible: 

Wellington County: JULY-UPDATE-The-Wellington-County-Food-Access-Guide-2023-1.pdf (

Guelph Microsoft Word – Guelph Food Access Guide Word Update.docx (

3. Resources

For Health Care Providers:

Information Sheet for Health Care Providers – Available here
Locally developed one-pager for Health Care providers on Household Food Insecurity

GW OHT Food Insecurity Video – Available here
Locally created 7-minute video to support education for Healthcare Providers in the GW OHT

Household Food Insecurity:  Actions in Healthcare – Available here
Comprehensive guide for healthcare providers on Household Food Insecurity (from Alberta, Ontario guide in the works)

Canadian Food Insecurity Fact Sheets – Available here
Fact sheets that bring together research findings on key issues related to food insecurity in an easily comprehensible and shareable way

Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig Traditional Food Guide – Available here
This resource highlights the connection between traditional food and health for Indigenous Populations

Food as Medicine: Exploring the connections and opportunities across food and health care – Available here
Video focused on ways that public policy can prioritize reducing food insecurity, improving access, and building a healthier future for all

For Community Members

Food insecurity is not the result of a lack of knowledge, planning or budgeting. These resources should not be offered to community members unless they are asking or identifying that there is a need for this type of information. Below are resources that may be shared with community members if they are requesting them.

  1. Meal planning from start to finish in 4 steps:
  2. Meal plan like a pro:
  3. 10 Tips for Planning Meals on a Budget
  4. 20 Ways to Save Money on Your Groceries
  1. Healthy Eating on a Budget
  2. Recipe ideas: Cookspiration:
  3. Canada’s food guide:
  4. Best Buys Using Canada’s Food Guide:
  5. Half your plate – Healthy Eating on a budget: Free Resources – Half Your Plate

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