Supporting Inuit food security: A synthesis of initiatives in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Northwest Territories


  • Tiff-Annie Kenny University of Ottawa
  • Sonia D Wesche University of Ottawa
  • Myriam Fillion
  • Jullian MacLean Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • Hing Man Chan University of Ottawa



Inuit, Indigenous, Canada, food insecurity, food programs, food security initiatives, program assessment


Food insecurity among Indigenous Peoples of northern Canada is a significant public health issue that is exacerbated by changing social and environmental conditions. While a patchwork of programs, strategies and polices exist, the extent to which they address all “pillars” of food security (food availability, access, quality, and utilization) remains under-assessed. We respond to this gap by providing a framework for synthesizing and assessing information about food security initiatives, using a case study of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), the westernmost Inuit region of Canada. Our objectives are: (1) to identify existing initiatives in the ISR; (2) to assess the breadth and diversity of these initiatives in addressing the four key food security “pillars”; and (3) to present an analytical framework that will facilitate ongoing data updating and sharing in the ISR and elsewhere. Through a scoping review and direct consultation with 12 key informants, we identified 30 initiatives that support food security in the ISR. These are funded and implemented at a range of national, territorial, regional, and local levels, and include both governmental and non-governmental programs, strategic frameworks, and research and monitoring initiatives. Seven key themes emerged from the cross-scale analysis of these initiatives, including: orientation with respect to food security pillars, scope and scale, demographic targeting, funding, monitoring and evaluation, and implications for food security strategies. While our framework provides a useful tool for data synthesis and analysis, its outputs can help in identifying gaps and opportunities for both resource allocation and program and policy development for under-served communities. Significantly, this study highlights the importance of engaging local perspectives in the development of coordinated approaches to address Inuit food insecurity.

Author Biographies

Tiff-Annie Kenny, University of Ottawa

PhD Candidate

Department of Biology

Sonia D Wesche, University of Ottawa

Assistant Professor
Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics

Jullian MacLean, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Regional Dietician

Community Development Division

Hing Man Chan, University of Ottawa

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Toxicology and Environmental Health




How to Cite

Kenny, T.-A., Wesche, S. D., Fillion, M., MacLean, J., & Chan, H. M. (2018). Supporting Inuit food security: A synthesis of initiatives in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Northwest Territories. Canadian Food Studies La Revue Canadienne Des études Sur l’alimentation, 5(2), 73–110.