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QIA spends $3 million on food vouchers for elders; $2 million on harvests

Correction: The children's initiatives will come from a separate pot of federal funding, meaning the remaining $1 million will go toward other needs as they arise. A previous version of this story indicated differently. Nunavut News apologizes for the error.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is putting $3 million towards food vouchers for elders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qikiqtani elders will start receiving $250 food vouchers every second week through the QIA. The vouchers can be used to purchase groceries at the Co-op.
NNSL file photo.

The $250 vouchers will be distributed to Inuit elders 60 years and older every second week. The project, made possible through the federal Indigenous Community Support Fund, has been created through a partnership with Arctic Co-operatives, the QIA announced on Monday.

The QIA is also allocating $2 million for harvesters to provide country foods to Qikiqtani communities. Those eligible to receive the funding will have established camps or cabins, must have their own transportation and priority will be given to harvesters who spend 14 or more days on the land, according to the QIA.

Another $1 million will go toward other needs as they arise.

The QIA will also aim to help families with children get the health, social and educational services and supports they require through the existing Inuit Child First Initiative.

“It’s imperative that we protect the most vulnerable in our communities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says QIA President P.J. Akeeagok, “We need to ensure that our elders have the food and basic supplies that they need, that our children are supported, and that no Qikiqtani Inuit are left hungry in these unpredictable times.”

QIA will also be ramping up our communications and public outreach efforts to continue to inform and educate Qikiqtani Inuit about COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures. A contingency fund is set aside to address any unanticipated needs associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The funds for QIA’s COVID-19 response plan come from the Indigenous Community Support Fund (ICSF) announced by the Federal Government on March 25, 2020. QIA’s share of that fund is $6,132,544.