Inuit organizations roll out COVID-19 support for Nunavut communities

Programs range from food baskets and grocery vouchers to money for elders and hunters

Inuit living in Iqaluit as well as in Kinngait are receiving some extra help with food and other supports. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Food hampers, grocery vouchers and subsidies to get out on the land — these are some of the ways the Qikiqtani Inuit Association is putting federal money for pandemic relief to work in Kinngait and Iqaluit.

Starting May 24, QIA and the Co-op will begin delivery of $250 grocery vouchers to each Inuit household in Kinngait, a community that’s seen a handful of recent COVID-19 cases.

And over the weeks of May 31 and June 28, QIA will deliver food hampers and $250 grocery vouchers to the homes of Inuit in Kinngait.

QIA also plans to distribute grocery vouchers to assist with food security in Iqaluit.

Inuit in Iqaluit who are 16 or older as of June 30 will receive grocery vouchers worth $275, divided equally between Arctic Ventures Marketplace and Northmart.

The first distribution period runs from May 31 to June 4. The second will take place at the end of June, said QIA, which has partnered with Ayaya for the distribution effort.

The Northwest Co. and the Co-op have both topped up federal funds available for pandemic food security relief, QIA said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made food security across the Qikiqtani region more difficult,” QIA president P.J. Akeeagok said in a recent news release.

“QIA is thankful for the federal government’s continued support for communities affected by COVID-19, and Arctic Co-operatives Ltd.’s ongoing excellence in delivering this programming alongside QIA for affected Qikiqtani Inuit.”

QIA is also reopening its Emergency Land Access Initiative to Qikiqtani Inuit living in Iqaluit and Kinngait, with a one-time $1,500 grant per eligible household.

The money is can be used to help people self-isolate on the land during the outbreak in Iqaluit or Kinngait.

“It can be used for fuel, ammunition, food, or other supplies you need while out on the land,” states a news release. “With the spring thaw well underway in Iqaluit, it may also be used during the upcoming boating season.”

Last week, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association also announced the distribution of almost $900,000 in federal funds.

The KIA said it would once again offer its Elders Supplement Program, which will give eligible elders $300 per month from June through October 2021.

The KIA will also make a $20,000 contribution to each of the hunters and trappers organizations in the five communities of the region so that they can help provide country foods to all Kitikmeot Inuit.

The Kivalliq Inuit Association has not yet announced any continuation of its COVID-19 support programs.

Indigenous Services Canada recently announced it was giving more than $19 million to help make sure Nunavut communities have access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the department has provided more than $137.8 million in combined COVID-19 support to Nunavut communities, a federal government backgrounder said.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Darren on

    Here in Kinngait everyone, regardless of Inuit status, received these vouchers.

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    • Posted by What?!?! on

      Hopefully it was a mistake! though I imagine some non-inuit probably declined the voucher anyway

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      • Posted by Darren on

        Some Inuit who did not lose employment during the pandemic also declined the voucher so that it could go to those in need.

  2. Posted by More money for no reason on

    There is no difference now than 2 years ago in both these communities. 80% of the population lives on SA and will spend every cent they get regardless of covid or not. It is a false assumption that giving vouchers and grants will make any difference.

    Here in Cambridge we were given meat packs from the KIA and most people just ended up donating them because they didn’t know how to cook it.

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    • Posted by Laughing my Ass off on

      “Here in Cambridge we were given meat packs from the KIA and most people just ended up donating them because they didn’t know how to cook it.”

      are you serious?? you cant assume reasons for donating the food…what they did with it is their business.

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      • Posted by It’s true on

        Ask KIA and the co-op in Kugluktuk people didn’t even want the meat packs and they had lots of surplus.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      That comment was totally ignorant and racist. Actually “most” people have been appreciative of the extras they have been given throughout the pandemic. Some may have donated them to others if they didn’t really need them but they got used. People get those same products in the Coop stores around Nunavut. I’m sure they know how to cook them.

  3. Posted by Iqalummiut on

    I’ve always found QIA to be very active to their constituents and keeping them up to day. As for NTI, I hear nothing????? Maybe PJ should run for NTI next time

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  4. Posted by Give away on

    Its unfortunate that public money from the feds is being used for all inuit regardless of their income status. Should really go to people in need or inuit who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. I hope inuit who don’t need this don’t accept it. Oh and you’ll need to file this as income at tax season. As a privilaged inuk i am not applying

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    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      That’s misinformation. This is not CERB.

    • Posted by Catch 22 on

      It’s a catch 22 situation. Only those Inuit who can afford cabins, snowmobiles, qamutiit, rifles, nets, augers, gas, camping food etc can go out on the land. I don’t have a cabin, a tent or a snowmobile. I can’t apply for the on-the-land program. I can’t get out of Iqaluit to isolate on the land. And so do many other Inuit on income assistance, the homeless and those with low incomes. The on-the-land program is only targeting the middle and higher income earners. Pffft. It doesn’t do anything to those who have been most impacted; those who are homeless, in shelters, elders homes, crowded homes. Nor to women who may prefer to isolate at home and sew.

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