Aboriginal people make up more than half the homeless population in Thunder Bay, Ont., a research paper says.

When York University researcher Caryl Patrick examined previous studies from across the country, she found a disturbing trend:

“Aboriginal homelessness in Canada is a crisis, and should be considered an epidemic.”

That epidemic reaches from Halifax, where First Nations people make up a tenth of the homeless population, to Yellowknife, where they account for 95 per cent.

As I have said before, the government must consider a national food strategy to combat the growing issue of food insecurity. At the time of my question, the UN rapporteur on the right to food finished his visit to Canada and expressed concern that we were not meeting our obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which we signed in 2010, by the way. He has since delivered his report to the UN Human Rights Council with a similar message.

The inaccessibility of nutritious, culturally appropriate and sustainably developed food is a problem that disproportionately affects aboriginal and northern communities in Canada. There are a number of factors that limit one’s ability to acquire this food. One of the major factors is income. We know that more than 20% of aboriginal people fall below the Statistics Canada low-income cutoff rate. By way of comparison, only 11% of the rest of our population shares this circumstance.

A United Nations representative says Canada needs a national food strategy.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food toured the country in May and his report was just released.

Olivier De Schutter says he’s “disconcerted by the deep and severe food insecurity” facing Inuit and aboriginal people in Canada.

De Schutter says the minimum wage needs to be increased so people can afford to buy food, and the housing system needs improvement so that poor families do not have to sacrifice food to pay rent.

That struck a chord with Diana Bronson, the executive director of Food Secure Canada — a national organization aimed at eliminating hunger.

“I think what the special rapporteur has done is given voice to a lot of these concerns at really the highest international level,” Bronson said.