QIA rolls out COVID-19 response plan: Over $6 million in food vouchers for Elders, funds for harvesters, and support for children and families
Iqaluit, Nunavut – March 30, 2020 – The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) is rolling out a number of initiatives to assist Qikiqtani Inuit during the COVID-19 pandemic including food vouchers for Elders, new funding for harvesters, and support for children and families.
“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.”
“Community cooperatives and QIA share the common goal of serving Elders in our communities. In uncertain and challenging times, it is essential for us to pull together to help deliver meaningful benefits to our Elders,” says Pauloosie Kowmageak, Cape Dorset, District 1 Director, Arctic Co-operatives and Arctic Co-op Development Fund.
Working in partnership with Arctic Co-operatives, QIA is allocating $3 million to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on Qikiqtani Inuit Elders. The funds will be distributed as $250 vouchers every other week. These vouchers will be for Inuit Elders 60 years and above.
Elders are at higher risk of respiratory infections such as COVID-19, this emergency financial support will help them access healthy food and necessary cleaning supplies. The program is expected to roll out by the first week of April.
To support local harvesters in providing healthy country food to our communities, QIA will offer Qikiqtani Inuit harvesters, who have established camps or cabins, over $2 million in short-term financial assistance to go out on-the-land. Priority will be given to Inuit who are willing to spend 14 days or more on-the-land. Harvesters must supply their own means of transportation.
QIA is also working to increase access to the Inuit Child First Initiative (CFI) for families with children during these challenging times. Leveraging this existing program administered by the Government of Canada will help ensure that every Inuk child gets the health, social, and educational services and supports they need, when they need them. For information or requests for support from the Inuit Child Fist Initiative, please call 1-855-572-4453 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
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.
These programs will be reviewed from time to time while the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to best serve Qikiqtani Inuit.
For more information, please contact:
Sima Sahar Zerehi
Director of Communications,
Qikiqtani Inuit Association