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Health

Ottawa sets out more detail of Nutrition North expansion


The federal government has outlined in slightly greater detail how a $160-million expansion of Nutrition North first promised last year will take place.

In a news release on Monday, northern affairs minister Dan Vandal said chunks of that money would go toward more support for harvesters, a new community food-sharing fund and research on food security.

Of the $163.4 million over three years, first announced in April 2021, $20 million had already been “committed to maintaining the increased subsidy rates established at the beginning of the pandemic in all eligible communities in 2021-2022,” the federal government stated.

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A further $43 million is now being earmarked to keep those rates for the next two years.

“This investment also extends the retail subsidy to local food producers in eligible communities – for eligible items that are sold or donated within the community – and to food banks and charitable organizations serving eligible communities,” the federal government stated, referring to the subsidy that lowers prices for some goods at grocery stores in more than 100 northern communities.

“The funding will also support eligible communities in storing and distributing both country and market food within a community.”

The fate of the remaining $100 million has been discussed with Indigenous governments over the past year.

Outcomes announced on Monday include:

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  • $60.9 million in a new Community Food Programs Fund, the detail of which was not given other than that it will “support a variety of community food-sharing activities;”
  • $36 million for the Harvesters Support Grant, which reduces the cost of hunting and harvesting; and
  • $1.5 million over two years for food security research grants “to inform ongoing and locally driven food security solutions.”

NWT deputy premier Diane Archie said the allocation of the money would increase “the amount of local food products produced, harvested, and sold in the NWT” and improve food security.

In the same federal statement, Nellie Cournoyea – former NWT premier and now chair of the Nutrition North advisory board – said the funding would “empower communities to lead on local food security initiatives that address their own unique needs.”

Duane Smith, chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, said the IRC would “continue to work with the federal government to ensure initiatives like this take place alongside meaningful actions aimed at reconciliation.”

The federal government opened applications for the new food security research grant on Monday.

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