Food Insecurity: Background Content

Independent Research

January 1, 1970

AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Centre for Indigenous People’s Nutrition and Environment (CINE)

“CINE is a university centre that is unique in the world because of its focus on traditional food systems of Indigenous Peoples. Our interdisciplinary approach to research and education gives exciting depth and breadth to our mission.” Dr. Harriet V. Kuhnlein, CINE Founding Director

CINE was created in response to a need expressed by Aboriginal Peoples for participatory research and education to address their concerns about the integrity of their traditional food systems. Deterioration in the environment has adverse impacts on the health and lifestyles of Indigenous Peoples, in particular nutrition as affected by food and food traditions. Canada’s aboriginal leaders worked together to lobby for funds and to establish a working structure to conduct CINE’s activities. Discussions began in 1989, and resulted in an award for infrastructure funding through the Arctic Environmental Strategy (AES) of the Department of Indian and Northern Development (DIAND), an initiative of Canada’s Green Plan.

CINE Mission

In concert with Indigenous Peoples, CINE will undertake community-based research and education related to traditional food systems. The empirical knowledge of the environment inherent in Indigenous societies will be incorporated into all its efforts.

CINE’s Governing Board has created and approved a set of guiding principles and basic contributions for work with Indigenous Peoples and within McGill University.


  • Document, promote and incorporate traditional knowledge of nutrition and environment
  • Respond to concerns of local communities on their food, food use and environment
  • Develop participatory relationships between communities and scientists for undertaking research in nutrition and ecosystems
  • Encourage continuing consultation, communication and recognition of elders to enhance the relevance of CINE’s work
  • Implement ethics guidelines for research, including those related to intellectual property rights as adopted by University Councils and the CINE Board
  • Provide training to students and other residents of local communities
  • Communicate research findings widely, both nationally and internationally, and contribute to policy developments in areas related to the CINE mission

February 1, 2019

AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Northern Sustainable Food Systems Report

Recommendations: National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB)

Northern sustainable food systems are a critical component of economic development in the North. Sustainable food systems support food security, leading to healthier communities, and individuals who are better able to participate in the workforce. With a healthier workforce, the economic climate is more favourable to attract and retain businesses. Improvements in employment, educational opportunities and increased incomes in turn allow for greater food security. Northern sustainable food systems both drive economic development and benefit from the economic growth associated with new business opportunities.

Based on internal and external research, along with findings from our Roundtable event held in Whitehorse, Yukon in June 2018 to discuss Northern Sustainable food systems with Northerners, the Board has made a suite of recommendations that address gaps in creating sustainable food systems:

  1. We recommend a set of four policy tools designed to address traditional foods and the opportunity to contribute more reliably and sustainably to food systems in the North. These policies and programs would support hunters and facilitate the procurement of traditional foods for use in hospitals, schools and government institutions, develop appropriate marketing and management practices, and facilitate food inspections to ensure food safety regulations are met. Importantly, all of these policies would be co-developed with Indigenous governing bodies and recognize Indigenous governmental authority to make regulations respecting the harvesting and use of country/traditional foods.
  2. We recommend the development and enhanced involvement in a set of two programs designed to promote climate change and adaptation programs and small-scale Indigenous commercial fisheries. These programs include the support for local processing facilities to offer the greatest benefit within and for communities. Country and traditional foods offer an irreplaceable contribution to Indigenous food systems far beyond their excellent nutritional value and supporting these endeavours now and for the future has widespread economic and community benefits.
  3. We recommend significant enhancements and alterations to federal subsidy programs. We recommend that The Nutrition North program focus on support for local food production and harvesting through transportation subsidies for traditional foods, and for tools and supplies used for local food production and harvesting. Further, we recommend the introduction of a Northern Basic Income Allowance and Northern indexed federal income tax rates. Additionally, we recommend economic development supports to enable locally-owned supply and distribution chains for market foods, consideration of price capping for staples and ongoing monitoring of existing food programs and food insecurity rates.
  4. We recommend an ongoing infrastructure investment strategy that honours previous fiscal commitments and continues to focus on transportation infrastructure (marine, air and ground) maintenance and enhancements. Deep water port construction, airport improvements, and road enhancements are all required to ensure remote and isolated communities maintain distribution networks and are best positioned to take advantage of economic development opportunities in the future.
  5. We recommend a simplification and coordination of funding opportunities for Northern individuals, communities and businesses looking to develop local solutions, combined with a sharing network for projects and developers to communicate with case-study champions. A single-window platform to identify funding opportunities and a single-user application will encourage innovation and localization of food systems contributions and reduce the need to navigate multiple departmental and jurisdictional levels. A sharing network will allow for the communication of ideas, successes and challenges across the North to facilitate expansion of successes and minimize barriers. REPORT.pdf

Other Background Content By Theme

Inuit Reports

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First Nations Reports

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