Helping Our Northern Neighbors

Food insecurity in Nunavut has been in media quite a bit lately.  A report released by Action Canada1  called “Hunger in Nunavut: Local Food for Healthier Communities” outlined that food prices in Nunavut can be up to 140 per cent higher than the rest of Canada and that 70 per cent of Inuit preschoolers live in food insecure homes. They had this to say in there report: 

Canada is a G8 country that ranks among one of the most livable in the world. But within its borders there is a serious problem of which most Canadians are unaware. Nearly seventy percent of all households in Nunavut do not have ready access to affordable, high-quality food— that is, they suffer from moderate to severe food insecurity

Traditional hunting methods aren’t without their difficulties in Nunavut2. The high cost of living in Nunavut does not just extend to purchasing of food but also to purchasing the equipment necessary to hunt. Furthermore, hunting isn’t always able to address the foot shortage problems, as single mothers, the elderly, and those without a traditional upbringing still remain vulnerable.

Given the extent of the problem, a group of Crees, under the group “Crees Helping Our Northern Neighbours”, are trying to send help. The group is concentrating on fundraising events, for a food bank in Pangnirtung, where they plan to send milk and diapers for babies. There are real obstacles for the groups project; the shipping cost to the community of Pangnirtung can be as high as $290.

The group is asking for community support to help them purchase supplies and to help with the high shipping costs. They are currently selling Valentine’s Day baskets at Meechum (for those in the Mistissini area) and are also accepting cash donations. Celina Wapachee sat down with Jacqueline Paddy to discuss the group’s efforts. To learn more about the group, we invite you to listen to the interview and visit their Facebook page


1. Campbell et al. "Hunger in Nunavut: Local Food for Healthier Communties"
2. Chan et al. “Food Security in Nunavut, Canada: Barriers and Recommendations,” International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 65:5 (2006).
3. Inuit Health Survey 2007–2008: Inuvialuit Settlement Region