Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Tackling #Food #nsecurity One Step at a Time by MLA Ron Elliot from #NUNAVUT HANSARD

Tackling Food Insecurity One Step at a Time

Item 3: Members' Statements
Member's Statement 352 – 3(3): Tackling Food Insecurity One Step at a Time

Mr. Elliott: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to acknowledge the efforts of individuals and organizations in raising awareness and suggesting solutions to address food insecurity in Nunavut.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I tabled a document titled "HungerCount 2012," which not only provides an overview of food insecurity issues across Canada, but profiles food bank and school breakfast programs in Nunavut. As noted in the report, there has been an 18 percent increase in use of the Nunavut Food Bank in the last year alone.

Mr. Speaker, the high cost of food in the north is a key aspect of food insecurity. This aspect is highlighted by the website and Facebook page titled "Feeding My Family," which was initiated last summer.

Mr. Speaker, families in Nunavut spend at least twice as much per year as southern Canadians to put food on the table. Nunavummiut, on average, allocate 25 percent of their income on food compared to 11 percent of a southern income. The burden becomes even heavier for single-parent families, seniors, and those with little or no income other than social assistance.

Mr. Speaker, the HungerCount 2012 report makes a number of recommendations, with one specific to increasing social investment in northern Canada. The recommendations read:

"We recommend:
1. The creation of a federal Northern Food Security Innovation Fund, to help jumpstart and sustain community-based, community-led food initiatives across the North;
2. The establishment and adequate funding of comprehensive school breakfast programs across the territories;
3. Significant investment in community-building infrastructure in northern communities, including the construction or rehabilitation of community-identified resources like community centres and community freezers."

Mr. Speaker, I would like to encourage the government to consider including significant funding for Nunavut-wide school breakfast programs in its upcoming budget.

It is heartening to see that many communities, such as the community of Arctic Bay and other communities across Nunavut, are trying to adopt the charitable food model by providing school breakfast programs. However, the overall problem needs to be supported by government-driven initiatives. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



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