COVID-19 has presented significant challenges to communities across Canada, and has amplified existing vulnerabilities for Northern and remote communities. It has particularly highlighted the impact on local food organizations, the need to continue to support them, and the crucial services Canadians rely upon to be safe and healthy.
Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, announced on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, an investment of over $1.1 million from the Government of Canada to improve food security for residents throughout Nunavut facing the social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds were distributed by five national organizations who worked with 30 organizations such as municipalities, food banks and schools to meet urgent and increased food needs for Northern and Indigenous communities. Organizations will be able to use funds to buy and distribute food, hire temporary help to fill volunteer shortages, and implement biosecurity measures such as personal protective equipment to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among volunteers and clients.
This funding is part of the $100 million Emergency Fund for food security announced by Prime Minister Trudeau in April to position food banks and local food organizations early in the pandemic to respond to increased community needs.
Key national food security organizations have been instrumental in distributing this funding, including Food Banks Canada, Community Food Centres Canada, Second Harvest, the Salvation Army and Breakfast Club of Canada.
More than 1,800 food banks and local food organizations across Canada have been helped by the funds from the Prime Minister’s announcement, which is estimated to help serve over two million Canadians with six million meals.
“Since the onset of the pandemic we’ve been working in collaboration with the Government of Nunavut, Indigenous partners and community stakeholders to ensure northern families have access to more affordable and nutritious food. We understand that Northern and remote communities deal with unique challenges when it comes to food security and the Emergency Fund is playing an important role in helping to improve the health and wellbeing of families. The funds announced today will support organizations across Nunavut on the front-line of delivering critical services to those in need.”
– The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs
According to Statistics Canada, one in seven Canadians live in a household experiencing food insecurity during at least one month of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, there were 1.1 million visits to food banks and 5.6 million meals served on average each month.
Funds from the Emergency Fund have been distributed to the following: Hamlet of Kinngait, Iqaluit City wide breakfast in a Bag Program, Qajuqturvik CFC, Niqinik Nuatsivik Nunavut Food Bank, YWCA Agvik Nunavut, Umimmak School, Hamlet of Sanirajak , Hamlet of Igloolik, Igloolik Health Centre, Hamlet of Pond Inlet, Hamlet of Resolute Bay, Municipality of Sanikiluaq, Municipality of Cambridge Bay, Hamlet Kugluktuk, Hamlet of Taloyoak, Hamlet of Gjoa Haven, Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School, Sakku school, Hamlet of Coral Harbour, Hamlet of Arviat, John Arnalukjuak High School, Nunavut Literacy Council, Municipality of Rankin Inlet, Ikurraq, Clyde River Food Bank, Hamlet of Kugaaruk, Hamlet of Pangnirtung, Municipality of Qikiqtarjuaq, and Nunavut Literacy Council – Ilitaqsiniq.
The $100 million Emergency Fund for food security investment was divided as follows:
- $50 million Food Banks Canada
- $45 million divided evenly between Community Food Centres Canada, Second Harvest, Salvation Army, and Breakfast Club of Canada.
- Up to $5 million for local-level organizations who serve people experiencing food insecurity, including $800,000 for La Tablée des Chefs to help prepare and distribute meals mainly across Quebec to vulnerable populations through food banks.
The Government has also provided an additional $25 million to Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidies so families can afford much-needed nutritious food and personal hygiene products.
In addition, the Government has provided up to $17.3 million to the governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut to support northern air carriers. This funding, in partnership with investments by the territorial governments, will ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services to remote and fly-in communities.