CanNor announces successful applicants for Phase 1 of the Northern Food Innovation Challenge 

News release

CanNor has selected nine applicants to move forward and develop innovative strategies to improve food security in the territories

January 28, 2022  – Iqaluit, Nunavut – Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

Food insecurity has long been an issue in the North and Arctic with the high costs of labour and transportation, and socio-economic challenges impacting people’s ability to buy food. This is why the Government of Canada is committed to making strategic investments to strengthen Northern food systems. 

Last year, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) launched the Northern Food Innovation Challenge (NFIC), a new approach to addressing socio-economic challenges that is part of the Northern Isolated Communities Initiative (NICI) program. The objective of NFIC is to support innovative, community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems to help improve food security in Canada's territories.

Food challenge seeks innovative solutions in Canada’s territories

Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, announced nine projects from across the three territories that have been selected to enter into Phase 1 of the Challenge. This represents an investment of over $2 million from the Government of Canada in food security.

Nearly 50 applicants responded to the call for proposals. All applications underwent an extensive review that included input from external experts.

Phase 1 of the Challenge is a proof of concept and testing of innovative food security solutions where the successful applicants are funded up to $250,000 to test their ideas. Phase 2 will be a deployment phase where up to three successful applicants from Phase 1 will be eligible to each receive up to $1 million to scale up their projects. The projects that are chosen for Phase 2 will be announced in 2023.

Projects focus on community-led projects

These nine projects focus on different aspects of Northern food insecurity and use innovative, community driven solutions to address these issues. These projects include testing emerging sectors for Northern food production; providing financial support to hunters; creating new storage and processing facilities; training people in communities with new skills in harvesting, processing, and distribution; and creating new models for sharing traditional food knowledge. To help with the development of these projects or initiatives, workshops will be held to provide an opportunity for applicants, experts, and other interested parties to exchange ideas and provide guidance and suggestions.


“Our government is working in partnership with Northern organizations and communities in developing locally-led, innovative, and relevant solutions to overcome longstanding challenges with Northern food systems. These groups have worked hard to address food insecurity issues and, through this challenge, our government is working with them to develop their ideas and support new advances in delivering long-term help for individuals and families in their communities.”

– The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

“Innovation and resourcefulness are not new to our northern communities. The funding provided by the Department of Economic Development and Transportation will assist the Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre in its mission to improve food security in Nunavut. This organization shows the importance of tackling modern day problems with traditional knowledge and Inuit societal values. Our government takes pride in all of the applications submitted and, through alternative funding opportunities available, continues to encourage community members in the creation of community-led initiatives and programs.”

- The Honourable Lorne Kusugak, Minister of Economic Development and Transportation, Government of Nunavut

“Food security is about more than putting food on the table. It’s about continuing to build resiliency and foster northern innovation to address key challenges in complex northern food systems. This partnership, this investment, will support hunters, teach support for communities acquiring new skills, and plant the seeds for northern food production. Access to food, especially in our most remote communities, is a northern challenge, and these investments will strengthen northern-driven solutions.”

– The Honourable Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of Northwest Territories

“Every Yukoner deserves to have access to healthy, nutritious food at an affordable price. This investment will help address food insecurity in the territories, especially in rural communities in the Yukon. We are pleased that the successful applicants will support the promotion of traditional knowledge sharing and training on First Nation food processing and will provide local food at low or no cost to Yukoners in those communities. These are innovative initiatives that will benefit our territory for many years to come.”

– Tracy-Anne McPhee, Minister of Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon

Quick facts

  • Of the nine projects that are receiving Phase 1 funding, five will benefit Nunavut, two will benefit the Northwest Territories, and two will benefit the Yukon. These projects will draw from $2 million in funding available for Phase 1.

  • In Nunavut, the successful applicants are the Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre (QCFC), the Ilisaqsivik Society, the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay, the Qikiqtaaluk Business Development Corporation (QBDC), and the Aqqiumavvik Society.

  • In the Northwest Territories, the successful applicants are the Fort Simpson Métis Development Corporation (FSMDC) and a country food in communities project managed between the Government of the Northwest Territories, Polar Knowledge Canada, and the University of Waterloo.

  • In the Yukon, the successful applicants are the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YFNED) and Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (LS/CFN).

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Ryan Cotter
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister Responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister Responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Craig Welsh
Communications Advisor, Nunavut
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CANNOR)

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