Kativik Regional Government rolls out food programs for Nunavik
Stop-gap measures aim to help elders and those unemployed due to the pandemic
The Kativik Regional Government has announced two new programs geared towards keeping food on the plates of Nunavimmiut during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From its own budget, the KRG is now distributing food vouchers to those who qualify, for two weeks, retroactive to March 13, according to a news release on Tuesday, April 7.
The vouchers are valued at $400 for one week for a family of four, and another $100 per additional child, a KRG representative told Nunatsiaq News.
The program is in place for people 60 years of age and under who have lost employment due to the novel coronavirus. They may be receiving no salary or a partial salary, with no income support benefits.
Those with employment insurance benefits will not qualify.
People who have taken on additional financial strain during the crisis, such as by taking in family members or supporting an elder, could also qualify for the program.
No paperwork needs to be completed to apply. Anyone who is interested can call the KRG offices at 1-877-964-2961, extension 2262, and leave a message with their name and phone number.
That information will go to staff—both English- and Inuktitut-speaking—who will return the call within 24 hours.
Applicants will be asked whether they were laid off or how they lost income because of the novel coronavirus—the program is specifically tied to economic challenges due to the pandemic.
They’ll then be asked for the name and contact information for their former employer, to verify the details of their loss of employment.
All of this will be used to assess whether the applicant qualifies.
If a person qualifies, they will be given a unique coupon number. When they go to the store, they’ll notify the store manager, who will have access to their coupon information.
According to the KRG, the process is fast, and 16 or 17 people who applied in the last two days have already received their coupons.
The measure is intended to ensure those who have lost income can still manage until federal programs, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or provincial programs, roll out.
But it is a stopgap, and each person will only qualify for two weeks, allowing for the delay in payments from other government programs.
The food voucher program is intended to run until June 30, or until the current emergency measures have been lifted.
The KRG also announced, on April 8, a food program specifically for elders.
As of this month, elders in Nunavik will be able to receive deliveries of groceries from their local stores using a monthly stipend of $200.
The program will run through April, May and June, with orders delivered on the 15th, 16th and 17th day of each month.
As with the food voucher program, stores have been given a list of elders without a steady income, and each will have a monthly $200 account from which they can spend.
Elders can call into their local store and provide an order to the store manager. Either a store employee or a Canadian Ranger will pick up and deliver the order to their home.
Alternatively, elders can have a member of their family do the grocery shopping for them, but they have to give that person’s name to the store manager in order for them to use the $200 credit on the elder’s behalf.
The final delivery under the elders’ program is set to take place on June 17, or when emergency measures are lifted.
For more information on this program, contact the local elders’ coordinator through your Northern Village.