Ottawa, Ontario – July 12, 2021
The Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy (INFSS), introduced today by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, sets the foundation for ending hunger in Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada. It advances Inuit-driven solutions for improving food security and creating sustainable food systems in Inuit Nunangat.
The high prevalence of food insecurity among Inuit is among the longest-lasting public health crises in Canada. It is impacted by several interrelated drivers, including poverty, high cost of living, climate change, inadequate infrastructure and systemic racism.
The INFSS lays the groundwork for transformational change in the food supply dynamics that directly contribute to food insecurity. The vast majority of foods Inuit consume are shipped thousands of kilometres by air and sea, while a tremendous volume of food leaves the region through commercial export.
The Strategy calls for coordinated actions and investments to address these imbalances, by supporting harvesting activities and Inuit wildlife management decision-making, subsidizing and regulating food transportation, improving food processing infrastructure locally, and supporting regional food production through the development of local food markets.
It identifies measurable objectives within five priority areas: research and advocacy; food system and wellbeing; legislation and policy; programs and services; and knowledge and skills. Implementation will take place through the collaborative structure of the Inuit Crown Partnership Committee, for which food security has been a shared priority area since the ICPC was created in 2017.
This strategy was developed by ITK, together with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Makivik Corporation and the Nunatsiavut Government, as well as the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, and the National Inuit Youth Council.
“The high rate of food insecurity for Inuit in Canada is unacceptable. The Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy contains a series of transformative actions that when undertaken concurrently will have a significant impact on this terrible crisis. It identifies ways to support the development of an Inuit Nunangat food system approach that supports Inuit wellbeing and reflects our realities, priorities and way of life.”
Natan Obed – President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
“The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) welcomes the delivery of the Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy. This development of the Strategy included Inuvialuit representation and will be consistent with the IRC’s food security efforts. Through IRC’s COVID-19 response, food security in the ISR has improved by providing Inuvialuit with equipment and tools to harvest and store traditional foods, facilitating food sharing with Inuvialuit in need, and improving the wellbeing of Inuvialuit and Inuvialuit culture. This new strategy demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to implement Inuit-led strategies and improve the lives of Inuvialuit.”
Duane Ningaqsiq Smith – Chair/CEO, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
“For Nunavut Inuit, harvesting, processing and consumption of country foods is deeply linked to community ethics and Inuit identity. The maintenance and building up of our kinship relationships and with other community members is a necessary and integral part of Inuit culture. We must make a shift from thinking about food security to food sovereignty. Food sovereignty captures the policy approaches required to address the underlying issues impacting Inuit and our ability to respond to our own needs for healthy, culturally appropriate, and customary food. It means empowering Inuit to feed our own communities.”
Aluki Kotierk – President, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
“Putting food on the table shouldn’t be the first thing a person worries about when they wake up in the morning, but this is the unfortunate reality lived by many Inuit across Inuit Nunangat. We are fortunate enough in Nunavik to have had negotiated the funding to cover six promising cost-of-living reduction measures which support programs that provide elders’ assistance, country food community support, household appliance and harvesting equipment, food, gasoline amongst other essentials. Though these cost-reduction measures are a big help to our population they are only the first step towards ensuring that the cost of living for Nunavimmiut is equal to Canadians living in the south. The Inuit Nunangat food security strategy paves the way on highlighting the steps that need to be taken next to make this a reality for Inuit.”
Pita Aatami – President Makivik Corporation.
“Food insecurity among Inuit in Canada is a public health crisis. While this is a multifaceted issue, the Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy is a good foundation for finding solutions to this problem. I look forward to the development of this strategy and the positive impact it will have on the lives of Inuit in Nunatsiavut and Inuit Nunangat.”
Johannes Lampe – President, Nunatsiavut
“Addressing food insecurity in our communities is a priority as it is integral to the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone. Inuit require easy access to healthy food, both store-bought and country food. By collaborating with this initiative, we are in support of an accessible, culturally adapted food security strategy.”
Minnie Grey – Executive Director, Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
“It has been a long road to see this strategy come to fruition and we are very proud of the final product. It is no simple task to pull back the complex layers of food insecurity and to find a shared path forward. The process undertaken by the Inuit Food Security Working Group was inclusive and welcoming of recommendations and ideas across regions and organizations and their hard work and dedication should be recognized. We are confident the actions identified in the strategy will reduce the high prevalence of food insecurity experienced by Inuit across Inuit Nunangat of which women and children are disproportionally affected. The National Inuit Food Security Strategy is an important milestone toward achieving food sovereignty and improving food security for Inuit. It is also a good position for Pauktuutit to work from in delving deeper into a food security strategy specifically for Inuit women. We look forward to supporting its implementation.”
Rebecca Kudloo – President, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
“From a circumpolar perspective we are pleased to see this strategy launched,” said ICC Canada President Monica Ell-Kanayuk. “Many issues are addressed in the strategy. For example, food insecurity is a serious public health issue because it is so tightly linked to an individual’s overall health and well-being. Inuit are often forced to compromise on the nutritional quality or quantity of the food we consume, creating risk for poor health outcomes. This strategy will help overcome this problem.”
Monica Ell-Kanayuk – President, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada
“The tremendous potential inherent in our Inuit youth throughout Inuit Nunangat has been, and continues to be, suppressed by the reality that the fundamental building blocks of a healthy & happy lifestyle are often lacking, including poor food security. Today, I am deeply optimistic that the food security problem many Inuit youth face will be alleviated, if not entirely mitigated, through the release of the Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy.”
Brian Pottle – President, National Inuit Youth Council
“No person should have to worry about where their next meal will come from. I recognize that the issue of food security has been a longstanding priority for Inuit, and I am committed to working with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and my federal colleagues to best support ITK in implementing their own solutions for food security in Inuit Nunangat.”
The Honourable Marc Miller – Minister of Indigenous Services
“Food insecurity affects many communities across Inuit Nunangat as a result of isolation, high cost of living, and a changing environment. We continue to work closely with partners, including Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Inuit Food Security Working Group, to advance solutions that support and reflect Inuit priorities. This includes the co-developed Harvesters Support Grant which helps with the high costs of traditional hunting and harvesting and creating greater access to country foods. We will continue to move forward in collaboration, partnership, and with a whole-of-government approach, to improve food security in Inuit Nunangat. I would like to thank ITK for their continued leadership and hard work in developing this Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy.”
The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P., – Minister of Northern Affairs