Yesterday, December 10, 2018, the federal government announced changes to the Nutrition North Canada program.
The government’s announcement involves updating its list of subsidized food and increasing subsidy rates, including a targeted subsidy towards frozen fruits and vegetables, milk, infant food and infant formula.
Following the 2018 Fall Economic Statement, the government proposes to invest an additional $62.6 million over five years starting in 2019-20, with $10.4 million ongoing to introduce a Harvesters Support Grant.
Yesterday’s announcement was made outside of the newly established bi-lateral Inuit Crown food security working group through which Inuit positions specific to food security and Nutrition North Canada will be addressed in a participatory approach with the federal government.
ITK President Natan Obed responded with the following by e-mail:
“Approximately 70% of households in Nunavut are food insecure (Inuit Health Survey, 2007-08). There are similar rates across Inuit Nunangat. All but one of the 51 Inuit communities is eligible for subsidies under Nutrition North Canada. Approximately $4 out of every $5 of the subsidy is directed to Inuit communities.
This Inuit food insecurity happens despite Nutrition North being in place, and despite Canada being one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We welcome the federal government’s willingness to establish an Inuit specific food security working group.
Our expectation going forward is that the federal government will work jointly with Inuit through the recently announced Inuit Crown bilateral process on food security to make the necessary and foundational systemic changes to NNC so it evolves into an accountable, transparent social program that reduces food insecurity in Inuit communities.”