HungerCount is probably the most widely disseminated, frequently cited data produced in Canada in regards to the issue of hunger and food security in the country. Its numbers are high, and they should be jarring.

But those numbers are misleading…

“When you look at these reports, what they give you the impression of is that they’re stats on the problem. They’re not,” Valerie Tarasuk, a researcher based out of the University of Toronto, told VICE.

“It’s service utilization. If we were trying to look at the health of Canadians, would we look at the number of ambulances that drive by?” The issue, in other words, is right in the name: Food Banks Canada isn’t actually counting the number of Canadians who are going hungry.