Nutrition North supports Harvest Manitoba and the Island Lake Tribal Council partnership that will bring food banking operations to approximately 15,000 residents in the Island Lake Region

News release

October 11, 2022 — Winnipeg, Manitoba — Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Canadians have the right to access affordable and healthy food no matter where they live. The Government of Canada continues its work with Indigenous and northern partners to improve food security programs, based on local priorities and solutions, especially as global inflation drives up the cost of putting food on the table.

Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, congratulated Harvest Manitoba, Anishininew Okimawin (Island Lake Tribal Council) and Food Banks Canada on their Memorandum of Understanding to support the shipment and distribution of food in St.Theresa Point, Wasagamack, Garden Hill and Red Sucker Lake. As a result, residents in all four northern Manitoba communities will now be able to have access to food banks within their communities.

Harvest Manitoba recently became the first registered food bank with Nutrition North Canada, a Government of Canada program that supports food security in northern isolated communities. As part of the program, charities and food banks are now able to claim subsidies for transporting and distributing food and essential household items in eligible northern communities. The inclusion of food banks and charities in the Nutrition North Canada subsidy program will help address the immediate needs of the most vulnerable residents in northern and isolated communities, while the program continues to work with communities toward long-term solutions.

Nutrition North Canada will continue to support and encourage partnerships between northern and isolated communities and major food banks and charities as well as the efforts of communities in strengthening food security. Partnerships between isolated communities and food banks and other charitable organizations mark an important step towards seeding food sovereignty and reducing food insecurity in the North.


“The partnership between Harvest Manitoba and the Island Lake Tribal Council is a significant step forward for addressing food security in the Island Lake Region. While we know there is still much work to be done to eradicate food insecurity, food banks now have access to subsidies to transport and distribute food to eligible communities and get food on the table for the most vulnerable residents and their families. Our government is continuing our important work with Indigenous and northern partners to better support Northerners in getting food on the table for their families.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

“Bringing food to remote First Nations communities has always been a challenge for food banks due to the high costs of transportation. This partnership, working with First Nations leadership, holds great potential to improve food security in some of Manitoba’s most food insecure communities. Harvest Manitoba would like to thank the Government of Canada for extending the Nutrition North program to our food bank efforts.”

Vince Barletta
President & CEO Harvest Manitoba  

“We are a resilient peoples but in time of need we look to other communities to help us. We are facing a crisis of food security in our region. High cost of food, transportation and supplies due to inflation are things that are not under our control. I applaud Harvest Manitoba, Food Banks Canada and Nutrition North Canada for partnering with us toward real solutions to permanently address food security in the spirit of reconciliation.”

Clarence Mason
Social Development Advisor, Island Lake Tribal Council

Quick facts

  • Nutrition North Canada supports residents in eligible northern isolated communities in the following ways:

    • Nutrition North Canada Subsidy: By subsidizing 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: By increasing Northerners’ access to traditional foods by supporting hunting, harvesting and food sharing.
    • The Community Food Programs Fund: By directly supporting culturally appropriate community-led food security activities.
    • Nutrition Education Initiatives: By delivering community-based nutrition education activities and building on existing activities to increase access to healthy food (led by Indigenous Services Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada).
    • The Nutrition North Food Security Research Grant: By supporting Indigenous-led research on food access and the cost of living in the North.
  • There are currently 122 isolated northern communities benefiting from the Nutrition North Canada program. These communities are located in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador.

  • Harvest Manitoba (formerly Winnipeg Harvest) has been serving hungry Manitobans since 1985 through the distribution of over 1 million pounds of food each month to over 350 food banks and other agency partners across the province. Harvest currently supports over 80,000 Manitobans each month through its partners and programs. Harvest is the fourth largest food distribution organization of its kind in Canada.

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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