What is it?

The Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy is the first road map ever developed for improving Inuit food security in Inuit Nunangat, the homeland of Canadian Inuit.

What is Inuit food security?

A person is food insecure if they do not have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. This could mean that they can’t afford a balanced diet, they miss meals or do not eat for days at a time. For Inuit, it can also mean that they don’t have access to country foods from the land which are central to our culture and way of life.

What makes this Strategy different?

The Strategy is based on an Inuit vision for ending hunger and advancing food sovereignty.

The Strategy outlines actions for creating a self-determined and sustainable food system in Inuit Nunangat that:

  • Reflects Inuit societal values.
  • Supports Inuit well-being.
  • Ensures Inuit access to affordable, nutritious, safe, and culturally preferred foods.

The Strategy creates a common national understanding of the:

  • High prevalence of Inuit food insecurity.
  • Factors driving Inuit food insecurity.
  • Coordinated Inuit-driven solutions to address food insecurity in Inuit Nunangat.

Why is this Strategy needed?

  • Canadian Inuit experience the highest rates of food insecurity of any Indigenous population in an industrialized nation.
  • Inuit food insecurity is one of the longest-lasting public health crises faced by a Canadian population.
  • Food insecurity can cause significant negative health impacts.
  • There is currently no federal policy in place to end Inuit food insecurity.
  • Low-income Inuit spend the majority of their income on basic food and shelter.
  • Inuit communities have very high cost-of-living and poverty rates.
  • High Inuit food insecurity rates will only be improved by partnering with Inuit to advance Inuit-driven solutions.

What are the solutions?

Strengthen the Inuit Nunangat food system by working in partnership with Inuit to:

Increase Inuit self-determination over the Inuit Nunangat food system.

  • Understand what food sovereignty and self-determination is for Inuit.
  • Develop Inuit-led solutions using a distinctions-based Inuit Nunangat policy lens.
  • Value the Inuit country food harvesting economy and wildlife management decision-making.
  • Ensure that research and evaluation around food systems and food security is based on Inuit priorities and leadership.

Reduce Inuit poverty and implement cost of living measures.

  • Assess the adequacy of social assistance programs and create poverty reduction initiatives.
  • Address high cost of living and food in Inuit Nunangat with actions that foster economic self-reliance.

Provide supports for families and children, targeting the most vulnerable.

  • Improve childhood education and programming through school food programs.
  • Identify the most vulnerable and create equitable access to nutritious food for all Inuit.
  • Address the short- and long-term impacts of chronic food insecurity on Inuit.

Invest in food security programs and interventions.

  • Design effective policy initiatives, food security programs, and interventions with measurable outcomes.
  • Explore local food production options aligned with Inuit needs and values.
  • Learn from and build on initiatives that are having a positive impact on Inuit food purchasing power.
  • Provide direct nutrition assistance with proven benefits for vulnerable Inuit families.

Support harvesting and sharing systems.

  • Support local and regional food production and distribution networks.
  • Ensure that active participation within the food system is a viable livelihood
  • Invest in program models that develop Inuit harvesting knowledge and skills

Address Inuit food system infrastructure deficits.

  • Address precarious food supply chains increasingly influenced by climate change.
  • Invest in local food storage and processing facilities to improve local food production and emergency food relief efforts.
  • Recognize northern air services are essential to Inuit food supply chains.

Strategy

For more details, please access the full Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy available in English, Inuktut Qaliujaaqpait, Inuktut syllabics, and French language versions.

The Strategy is a comprehensive document providing context and background on Inuit food security issues in Inuit Nunangat and outlines close to two dozen actions developed by and for Inuit.