March 21, 2023 – Ottawa, ON
Inuit in Canada experience the highest documented prevalence of food insecurity of any Indigenous people in an industrialized country. Yet there is no coordinated, national approach to addressing Inuit food insecurity.
A report co-developed by ITK, Inuit partners and the federal government has found that the well-being of students in Inuit Nunangat would benefit from a coordinated school food program.
Understanding the Costs of an Inuit Nunangat School Food Program makes a case for the delivery of a cost-effective, accessible, and Inuit-specific meal program to be implemented in the 75 schools in Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland encompassing 51 communities across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Québec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador.)
ITK is seeking $1.66 billion to implement and sustain a school food program across Inuit Nunangat over the next 15 years. The implementation of the program would require secure, long-term investments in human resources and infrastructure.
Research demonstrates that comprehensive, integrated school food programs improve educational outcomes in school-age children.
“Food security has a major impact on our ability to live a safe, healthy, and prosperous life,” said Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. “Ensuring Inuit children have enough to eat will help enhance their educational experience, mental wellness, connection to Inuit culture and overall security.”
The proposed program would offer breakfast and lunch to students, with a focus on healthy and locally sourced food options. It would have the flexibility to be adapted to meet regional and community needs, and be grounded in Inuit culture.
Read the full report here.
The report was developed through the Inuit-Crown Food Security Working Group, which is made up of Inuit leaders, ITK representatives and federal departments. This builds upon the recommendations made in ITK’s 2021 Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy, which advances Inuit-driven solutions for improving food security and creating a sustainable food system in Inuit Nunangat.
Creation of the food program, as a means to improve food security through self-determination, was one of five calls for investment in Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s 2023 pre-budget submission.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national representative organization for 70,000 Inuit in Canada, the majority of whom live in Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland encompassing 51 communities across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Québec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). ITK represents the rights and interests of Inuit at the national level through a democratic governance structure that represents all Inuit regions.
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