Food Stamps in Canada

Nathaniel Christopher 6 Comments

I always thought it was an American thing, but apparently the provincial government issues food vouchers to assist people in dire need. They are government issued vouchers which can be exchanged for any item of food at any retailer in the province.

BC Food Voucher
BC Food Voucher

A friend of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous,  is in the process of applying for welfare or “social assistance” as it’s sometimes called.

He won’t be able to see a worker until the end of the week, but in the meantime an intake worker was able to offer him emergency assistance in the form of a food and sundries voucher.

“It was actually very painless,” he says of the process. “She proactively gave them to me when I told her my rent was late. It was in this booklet that looked like a cheque book. She figured I was in a tough spot and gave me the food stamps and it was a temporary aid ‘til I get money on Friday”

My friend was issued four $5 vouchers totaling $20. He went to Safeway and purchased: a six-pack of eggs, a box of Kraft Dinner, three buns and milk. The total came to $4.65. He tried to make sure he used up the $5 because one cannot receive change from a food vouchers.

“I went to the customer service desk to spend them as I did not want the teller to be all confused and call a manager over the intercom,” he says, mindful of the stigma associated with people on welfare. “I came to customer care first and not a teller due to the sensitive nature of my vouchers She was like ‘oh yeah no problem we get these all the time’”.

Although it was a little embarrassing for him, he maintains that it is far better than the alternatives.
“Those vouchers allowed me to happily eliminate some much crappier options of getting food from my week such as food banks,” he says. “It is always on their time and you have to be up so fucking early and the worst part is that 90 per cent of them are located in skid fucking row.”

I am a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, who has been blogging here for nearly 25 years. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings on my own online platform. From 1998 until 2017, I worked as a journalist, and I have posted most of my articles in the 'News' section of this website.


  1. So I just got $50.00 5-$10.00 vouchers from social assistance. I was Told at the office that I was able to use them out numerous places, save on foods being one. So I went to the Garrison Crossing location and Oddly enough the lady said they’ve never seen one of these before. So I waited and waited for the manager to come down and she came down and told me that she’s never seen one either and I had to leave the store. As if I was a criminal and was trying to scam the store. I was extremely upset , Hungary an not to mention frustrating as I’m homeless atm an haven’t eaten in days.

  2. I am married to a person who is not a canadian citizen yet but is in a wheelchair, is not wheelchair bound, but is living in ontario, specifically windsor, we are currently stuck on welfare, or rather i am and as such must rely on one income, which we all know does not really go that far, i just recently heard about these food stamps or vouchers, how do i go about getting access to these vouchers, as i have had to use the food banks and they just dont give much for what someone needs to survive on. Information would be most appreciated on this and any other assistance in Ontario.

  3. to whom it may concern
    I am a single mother, who is paying support,for my three younger kids, I had a summer job,But is on EI at the present time,EI have been taking off support money,which leaves me with very little, to pay for rent insurance and food,finding it very difficult,I would like to know how do I applied for food stamps,where I live New Liskeard Ontario,
    any advice will help,

  4. I am a senior 84 years of age and I find it difficult at times to pay the full prices at safeway……I live in subsized housing in north vancouver……..and I get the yearly bus pass for 45 dollars because I get the supplement……do I qualify for the food stamp vouchers from the provincial govt…….if you need more info I can supply it…….regards norman cummins ……….I would appreciate a reply…..

  5. I wondered if someone could write back to me about this!? I live in Ontario though?! Does that matter? I’d like to know more about this, as I am basically starving to death!!!! Please have someone write to me….I have a few “CONFIDENTIAL” questions to ask…please? Thank you for your time!!! CJ (or Mystical)♥

    Have a happy day! ☺

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