NORTHERN FOOD INSECURITY
Food insecurity is at crisis levels in many northern communities.
Poverty, along with a lack of access to logistics, proper infrastructure, and transportation has resulted in many Canadians living in northern and remote communities to experience disproportionate levels of food insecurity. We recognize the need is urgent and that the time for change is now.
While the food insecurity rate across the country lies at 12.7%, in Nunavut, that number is 57%—more than quadruple the national average. It is a complex and critical issue that requires a very specific set of solutions. Which is why Food Banks Canada continues to recommend greater focus and attention by governments when it comes to addressing the high levels of food insecurity in Canada’s north.
Food Banks Canada’s approach to ending food insecurity in the North goes well beyond the food banking model.
We know helping people in need goes beyond the scope of food, which is why we’re focused on building relationships and working on place-based solutions in partnership with northern communities where food insecurity is at crisis levels.
Examples of how Food Banks Canada is working in partnership with our northern communities
REOPENING TRADITIONAL FISHING GROUNDS
In 2021, to improve access to healthy food for a rural and remote community in northern Alberta, Food Banks Canada used a grant made possible through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Emergency Food Security Fund to help the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation reopen a path to traditional fishing grounds.
The First Nation’s return to Gipsy Lake has not only improved their access to a healthy food source and enhanced their food security, but it is also helping keep their culture and traditions alive in the community.
“This has allowed our community access to a healthy food source while at the same time keeping our culture and traditions alive. This project has led to intergenerational knowledge transfer ensuring that the next seven generations will know where and how to access fish to feed the community of Chipewyan Prairie. This project has significantly
contributed to our community’s food security.”
– Chief and Council, Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation
RELIEVING HUNGER ALONG THE ICE ROADS
Amid growing calls for food bank services in northern communities this year, Food Banks Canada hit the ice roads with Harvest Manitoba and the Regional Food Distribution Association in Thunder Bay on a mission to improve northern food security.
Together, we drove more than 3,000 kilometers along the longest seasonal ice road in the world—the Wapusk Trail—to deliver four thousand pounds of food in two remote First Nations only accessible to vehicles for six weeks of the year.
DEDICATED NORTHERN FOCUS
In 2021, Food Banks Canada welcomed our first Northern Program Officer, Jason Stevens,. In his role, Jason is focused on developing new relationships with communities in northern Canada to listen and understand their needs and challenges and to work with them to identify place-based solutions to address food insecurity in their communities.
“Building relationships with experts at the local level will be crucial to reducing food insecurity in northern communities in an equitable way.”
– Jason Stevens, Northern Program Officer, Food Banks Canada
Through our ongoing policy recommendations, Food Banks Canada remains diligent in addressing the disproportionate food security challenges being faced by people in the north due to complex issues involving poverty, along with a lack of access to logistics, proper infrastructure, and transportation.
We recognize the need is urgent and that the time for change is now.
HELP US ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY IN THE NORTH
1Source: Statistics Canada
2The cost to feed a family of four in March of 2018 — source: https://www.nutritionnorthcanada.gc.ca/eng/1548078467819/1548078497301