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ITK encouraged by Budget 2024 investments in Inuit housing, infrastructure and food security

April 16, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is encouraged by a number of Inuit-specific investments in today’s federal budget, especially $370 million for housing and infrastructure funding in Inuit Nunangat. This is a shared priority of the Inuit Crown Partnership Committee and builds on housing funding of $845 million committed in Budget 2022 but does not fulfill the call for $75 billion over 35 years for infrastructure in ITK’s pre-budget submission.

ITK looks forward to learning more about several other promising investments including food security funding for initiatives that support Inuit harvesters and local food producers, and also Inuktut language and cultural programs funded through Heritage Canada.

And while there are reasons to celebrate Budget 2024, ITK is disappointed by the notable absence of funding to eliminate tuberculosis by 2030, a shared commitment of Inuit and the Government of Canada since 2017. ITK’s pre-budget submission for 2024 called for $131.6 million over seven years to eliminate TB.

“ITK works with the federal government through the Inuit Crown Partnership Committee to advance Inuit priorities. We are encouraged to see some of our joint efforts reflected in Budget 2024,” said ITK President Natan Obed. “But, our shared commitment toward TB elimination cannot be achieved without significant resources.”

ITK noted the federal government’s announcement earlier this month to create a National School Food Program. Our Inuit Nunangat School Food Program costing report, released in 2022 makes the case for the delivery of a cost-effective, accessible, and Inuit-specific meal program to be implemented in the 75 schools in Inuit Nunangat. Budget 2024 funding does not include any information on how this goal will be realized.

The budget makes specific reference to ITK’s Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy which prioritizes support for harvesters and community food programs, but it does not specify how Budget 2024 will support our food security priorities.

We are pleased that Budget 2024 includes $2.8 million over three years to co-develop, with ITK and Inuit Treaty Organizations, legislation and policy options to facilitate the sale and trade of traditional country foods – a specific ask in ITK’s pre-budget submission. This budget also includes a promising $10 million over 3 years to support Inuit self-determination research.

Today’s budget contains several other announcements that may support Inuit in Canada. They include:

  • $167.5 million for the Inuit Child First Initiative, the Inuit-specific equivalent to Jordan’s Principle
  • $630.2 million over 2 years to support mental health services including through distinctions-based mental wellness strategies
  • $225 million over 5 years, with $45 million per year ongoing, for Indigenous language and culture programs funded through Heritage Canada