Minister Vandal announces enhancements to food security programs in isolated northern communities, promoting local food sovereignty

News release

August 15, 2022 — Inuvik, Northwest Territories — Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Everyone deserves access to healthy, affordable food, no matter where they live. However, many Canadians living in northern and isolated communities face increased costs related to shipping rates and supply chains. The Government of Canada is working together with Indigenous and northern partners to improve food security programs, based on local priorities and solutions.

Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, is announcing a significant step forward in addressing food security in the North. An investment of $143.4 million over two years from Budget 2021 will expand Nutrition North Canada, a Government of Canada program that helps eligible northern and isolated communities in addressing local food security priorities. 

The investment includes an additional $36 million for the Harvesters Support Grant and $60.9 million to launch a new Community Food Programs Fund under the grant to support a variety of community food-sharing activities. An additional $1.5 million over two years is also being provided for Nutrition North Canada's Food Security Research Grant to inform ongoing and locally driven food security solutions. 

Through an investment of $43 million over two years, increased subsidy rates that were put in place by the Government of Canada at the beginning of the pandemic will be maintained. 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 funding will also support eligible communities in storing and distributing both country and market food within a community. 

The expansion of these food security programs, designed in collaboration with Indigenous partners, will strengthen local food systems and community-led food security initiatives while promoting local food sovereignty. While Nutrition North Canada will not solve food security on its own, it helps northern and isolated communities develop integrated, culturally relevant, and made-in-the-North solutions to address food security, as part of the federal government's broader efforts to address food security across Canada.


"Indigenous and northern communities know how best to address local food security, and our government is continuing to work in partnership based on their priorities. The program enhancements announced today will help support communities in new ways, including direct support for community-led food activities, local food production, and food banks and charities serving eligible communities. Building on the success of the Harvesters Support Grant, which provides support to Indigenous communities in securing traditional country foods, we are continuing our work with Indigenous and northern partners to ensure that these expanded programs continue to be responsive to the needs of Northerners."

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for CanNor, and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan

"Through this expansion of the Nutrition North Canada, our government is demonstrating our continuing commitment to improving quality of life and the affordability of everyday goods in Northern Canada." 

Michael McLeod
Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories

"Food security is an issue that impacts everybody in the territory, and for too many of our residents, touches every aspect of their lives, particularly affecting health, and education outcomes. It is an issue that rightfully is now commanding a collaborative approach. Increasing the amount of local food products produced, harvested, and sold in the NWT will improve food security, the quality of life and reduce the cost of living for NWT residents." 

Diane Archie
Deputy Premier, Minister of Infrastructure, and Minister Responsible for Northwest Territories Power Corporation

"The Advisory Board is very happy to support the continued evolution of the Nutrition North Canada Program. These latest additions to NNC empower communities to lead on local food security initiatives that address their own unique needs. The Advisory Board is also pleased to support the launch of Nutrition North Canada's Food Security Research Grant, which is expected to identify even more ways that NNC can support residents of northern and isolated communities."

Nellie Cournoyea
Chairperson, Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board

"Inuvialuit have been stewards of our lands since time immemorial. IRC is committed to ensuring food security across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and will continue to work with the federal government to ensure initiatives like this take place alongside meaningful actions aimed at Reconciliation." 

Duane Smith
Chair and CEO, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation 

Quick facts

  • Nutrition North Canada is an important part of the Government of Canada's response to food security in the North. Nutrition North Canada has supported residents in eligible and isolated communities in the following ways:

    • Nutrition North Canada retail subsidy program: subsidizes a list of perishable foods and essential items flown in by air; and non-perishable foods and essential items brought in by seasonal sealift, barge or winter road. 
    • Harvesters Support Grant: increases Northerners' access to traditional foods by supporting hunting, harvesting and food sharing. 
    • Nutrition Education initiatives: delivers community-based nutrition education activities and building on existing activities to increase access to healthy food (led by Indigenous Services Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada). 
  • Budget 2021 provided $163.4 million over three years, starting in 2021–2022, to expand and enhance the Nutrition North Canada Program and enabled Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to work directly with Indigenous partners, including in Inuit Nunangat, to address food insecurity. Of this, $20 million has been committed to maintaining the increased subsidy rates established at the beginning of the pandemic in all eligible communities in 2021-2022. The remaining $143.4 million was codeveloped with Indigenous partners and is now being committed.

  • Nutrition North Canada is formally launching the application process for the Food Security Research Grant on August 15, 2022.

  • There are 122 isolated northern communities that benefit from the Nutrition North Canada retail subsidy program. These communities are located in Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Labrador.

  • Of those 122 communities, 109 are also currently eligible for the Harvesters Support Grant and the Community Food Programs Fund.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Kyle Allen
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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