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Webinar: The Food Security Crisis in the North - What Next?

Hosted by: Food Secure Canada


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As most residents living in Northern Canada will tell you, Nutrition North (the only federal program to counter the high costs of food in the North) is falling short. This was confirmed in November 2014 by the Office of the Auditor General in its highly anticipated report. The findings were dismal yet predictable: on all accounts Nutrition North had failed in the alleviation of food insecurity in northern Canada.

Criticism and action are growing across the North. Feeding My Family, the Nunavut Food Security Coalition's Nunavut Food Security Strategy, and the APTN’s Wasting Away documentary have all brought this critical topic to the national stage.

The question remains - what next?  What will it take to finally make staggering food insecurity in Northern Canada a priority for the federal government?

During this national webinar we heard from key leaders in the North about their vision for moving this urgent issue forward in the upcoming election year, and heard how our members can support this important work.



Leesee Papatsie 

Leesee lives in Iqaluit, and is a mother of 5. In 2012, she founded the Feeding My Family Facebook Group, which has been working to bring awareness to the fact that the high cost of food is preventing many Northerners from living healthy, happy and productive lives. From Northern Labrador in the east, to Northern Alaska in the west, the group has become a forum where Northerners can come together to work towards positive change, despite the distance that separates our communities. Since then, Nunavut has seen protests across the territory denouncing the high cost of food and the federal government's inaction on the food security problem faced by 70% of Inuit homes.

"When I was growing up, we did a lot of camping and hunting. I was able to see a bit of the old traditional life style. My parents totally loved being out on the land, and they spent as much time as they could out on the land. I grew up with a lot of traditional food and there was a lot of sharing between the family members. My parents taught me what being an Inuk is, and it is through them that I am able to do what I am doing today."


Norma Kassi

Norma was raised and educated in Old Crow, Yukon. She is Vuntut Gwitchin (People of the Lakes) and a member of the Wolf Clan. She co-founded Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research and worked as Co-Director until she was elected Chief of Vuntut Gwitchin in November 2010. As Co-Director of AICBR, Norma was engaged in Community Based Health Research, particularly with Yukon First Nations. This work included identifying health research priorities with Yukon First Nations communities, capacity building and training of First Nations in the area of health, and developing ways to translate knowledge that is inclusive, sustainable and beneficial to the communities. Norma is also a board member of Food Secure Canada.



Dr. Carolyn Bennett, MP

The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, MD, MP for St. Paul's, was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1997 general election and was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and again in 2011 representing the electoral district of St. Paul's.

In December 2003, Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed Carolyn as the first ever Minister of State (Public Health). In her two years as Minister, she set up the Public Health Agency of Canada, appointed the first Chief Public Health Officer for Canada and established the Public Health Network, which enabled all provinces and territories to work with the Federal Government on protecting the health of Canadians.

Currently Dr. Bennett is Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. She is also chair of the National Liberal Women's Caucus.


Dr. Myriam Fillion

Myriam Fillion is working on food security and exposure to contaminants in the Canadian Arctic, as part of her postdoctoral fellowship with the team of Dr. Laurie Chan at the University of Ottawa. She is currently involved in a participatory research project in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Northwest Territories, where she is working closely with regional and community partners to identify local priorities related to food security and to develop relevant research projects in accordance with the needs and interests expressed locally. Myriam's research integrates an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing environmental health issues and considers gender and social equity in order to promote public health. 




Webinar date: 
Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 12:00pm
Network group: