Canadians living in northern and remote communities face highly elevated, and in some cases extreme, levels of food insecurity.
CHALLENGES IN THE NORTH
There are significant challenges for food banks in the North, not the least of which is access to logistics and transportation to bring in a steady supply of food. The lack of consistent community food supports makes the need for policy change all the more critical and urgent.
More needs to be done to address the high levels of food insecurity in Northern Canada, which is why Food Banks Canada continues to recommend more focus and attention by governments on this issue. Further, each policy recommendation made in this report, if implemented nationally, would support a reduced need for the services of food banks in the North.
46.8% of households in Nunavut are food insecure*.
THE COMPLEX AND SEVERE CHALLENGES IN THE NORTH
Niqinik Nuatsivik Nunavut Food Bank Iqaluit, Nunavut
There are no roads to Nunavut. The only way anything can get into the communities in this territory is by plane or by sea (and then only in late August into early Sept). This fact drives the price of everything in Iqaluit up, including food.
The cost of living in Nunavut is the key contributor to the fact that nearly 50% of households experience food insecurity. The food bank in Iqaluit tries to do what it can to help people living in food insecure households with basic food support and connections to other community resources. “The challenge for the food bank is how to get food when it is so expensive to transport it into the community” said Bruce McRae, Co-chair of the Board of Directors.
This past summer the food bank reached out to see if Food Banks Canada could help. Staff worked with a wholesaler to purchase the food at reduced cost. It was then moved to Montreal harbour, loaded in a sea container and shipped north to Iqaluit. Bruce said, “This was the first time we worked together to get food, and it worked really well for the food bank.” This food will need to last throughout the year, as another shipment of food won’t be possible until the ice melts next summer.
There are many challenges to running a food bank in the far north, and accessing food is top of the list. The volunteers who run the Niqinik Nuatsivik food bank work hard to offer a variety of food to support all those who come in to get help each month.
In March 2018 there were over 6,600 visits to food banks in the territories
Food Banks Canada provides national leadership to relieve hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow in collaboration with the food bank network in Canada. We do this by maximizing the collective impact of the network, strengthening the local capacity of food banks, and advocating to reduce the need for food banks.