National strategy calls on Canada to address Inuit food security crisis

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A new strategy from Canada’s Inuit organization calls on the federal government to support a national Inuit food security strategy to address what it calls a national public health crisis.

The new document from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, called the Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy, says 76 per cent of Inuit over the age of 15 in Canada experience food insecurity, the highest rate of any Indigenous population in a developed country in the world.

The strategy lays out Inuit-driven solutions that it wants to see supported by the federal government to address food insecurity and create sustainable food systems in all four Inuit regions in Canada.

The strategy specifically looks at support for families and children, food security programs and interventions, cost-of-living reduction measures, harvester support and infrastructure.

It also makes 33 recommendations to the federal government to address food insecurity through government policies like food programs, transportation costs and education.

The strategy also notes that Inuit food systems changed drastically starting in the early 1900s through colonial policies like settlement programs, relocation and residential schools.

“The current way food systems function across Inuit Nunangat directly contributes to food insecurity. Government policies, programs, and monetary investments have an incredible impact on food choices, food availability, and food prices in our communities,” Natan Obed, ITK president said in the strategy.

“Inuit food insecurity is not a new issue, and it amounts to a shameful human rights violation that Canada is legally obligated to remedy. Governments have stood by for far too long, prioritizing incremental actions and investments that do not remedy the root causes of food insecurity.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 12, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship

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