An increasing number of Canadians have been facing challenges in putting food on their tables due to COVID-19. As a result, food banks and food security organizations have experienced increased pressures such as higher demands and fewer resources. With the holidays approaching, these organizations need our support more than ever to help feed families and keep Canadians healthy and safe.
On Dec. 18th, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced details about the additional $100 million in funding that is being provided to these organizations under the Emergency Food Security Fund. This funding was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on October 9, 2020, bringing total funding under the Emergency Food Security Fund to $200 million. The new funding will provide $18.5 million to Food Banks Canada, $18.5 million to Breakfast Club of Canada, $8.9 million to Second Harvest, $8.9 million to Community Food Centres Canada, $8.85 million to the Salvation Army, and $1.34 million to La Tablée des Chefs. A further $5 million will be allocated from reserve funds.
Minister Bibeau made the announcement, alongside Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal, during a roundtable event with front-line volunteers and food security organization workers from across Canada.
During the roundtable, the Ministers heard first-hand experiences of the essential work being done by volunteers and workers, who are faced with more demands and fewer resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened food security concerns for many Canadians, particularly in northern and Indigenous communities. Local food organizations must adapt to new measures to safely deliver their services and are often strained to find adequate volunteers and staff.
Indigenous Services Canada will use $30 million of the new funding to bolster its Indigenous Community Support Fund, bringing this Fund’s total to $1.1 billion.
As Canadians enter a critical point in the pandemic, food banks, local food organizations, and Indigenous partners are using these funds to purchase and distribute food and other necessities in order to meet the urgent needs of Canadians. The funding has so far supported more than 3,200 local food organizations across Canada.
“Our Government is providing additional support to food security organizations, whose extraordinary volunteers and workers are continuing to give their time and energy to help ensure Canadians across the country have access to food. I’d like to thank all Canadians for the generosity they have shown. As the need increases over the holiday season, I encourage all of us to help in whatever way we can. Every donation made will help make life a little brighter for Canadians in need during these challenging times.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Today’s announcement of $30 million towards food security for Indigenous Peoples comes at an essential time. We recognize that the pandemic has put additional pressure on many First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, as well as Indigenous Peoples living in urban areas. Knowing whether or not you will have access to nutritious foods should never be uncertain. This funding will help Indigenous Peoples have better access to healthy, culturally appropriate food choices and basic household necessities.”
– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services
“This funding will support the efforts of food organizations in the North and Arctic who work every day to ensure families have food on their tables. There are many obstacles facing the North in accessing affordable, nutritious and safe food sources that are only compounded during a global emergency. This funding, combined with our increased investments in Nutrition North Canada and the implementation of the Harvesters Support Grant, is ensuring our response to food insecurity is robust, comprehensive and complete so individuals, families and communities can be more food secure across the North.”
– The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs
• The first $100 million under the Emergency Food Security Fund, announced in April 2020, was divided as follows:
o $50 million to Food Banks Canada;
o $49.2 million divided between Community Food Centres Canada, Second Harvest, Salvation Army, and Breakfast Club of Canada; and
o $800,000 for La Tablée des Chefs to help prepare and distribute meals mainly across Quebec to vulnerable populations through food banks.
• The Indigenous Community Support Fund is providing Indigenous leadership with the flexibility needed to design and implement community-based solutions to prevent, prepare and respond to the spread of COVID-19 within Indigenous communities.
• In addition, the Government launched the $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program, which aimed to move surplus food commodities through the food system as efficiently as possible to help vulnerable Canadians.
• In April 2020, a one-time financial injection of $25 million to Nutrition North Canada (NNC) was announced, to increase subsidy rates in all eligible communities to ensure food security for Canada’s most vulnerable in the North and Arctic.
• NNC’s Harvesters Support Grant program, co-developed with Indigenous partners, provides $40 million over five years beginning in 2019-2020, and $8 million per year in ongoing funding. It directly improves food security by increasing access to traditional foods and will help to alleviate the high costs associated with traditional hunting and harvesting activities.
• Emergency Food Security Fund (AAFC)
• Indigenous Community Support Fund (ISC)
• Nutrition North Canada program (NA)
• Harvesters Support Grant program (NA)
• Food Security in the North
• Prime Minister announces support for food banks and local food organizations (PMO)
• Prime Minister announces additional support for food banks and local food organizations (PMO)
• Supporting Canada’s farmers, food businesses, and food supply (PMO)
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