Whitehorse: Darius Elias, MLA for Old Crow, has been invited to make a submission to the United Nations regarding his community’s experiences with access to food and the Nutrition North Program.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Dr. Olivier De Schutter, is conducting a Canadian visit.  He and his team will meet with the Government of Canada, aboriginal organizations, public service organizations, and local experts on food issues. 

Mr. Elias’ submission included discussion of the unique challenges facing Old Crow with respect to access to healthy, affordable groceries.  It also covered the transition from the former federal Food Mail program to the current Nutrition North Canada Program, which has up to doubled food shipping costs while limiting grocery options available to residents.

“Northern leaders have joined voices to tell the Government of Canada that implementation of Nutrition North has been a step backwards for isolated northern communities,” said Elias.  “In February, I joined with four other northern representatives to bring our constituents’ concerns to the federal Ministers of Health and of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.  In March, all members of the Yukon Legislative Assembly joined me in urging the Government of Canada to make Nutrition North work for Old Crow.”

After the Special Rapporteur completes his mission, he will detail his findings and offer policy recommendations to the Government of Canada.  Canadians’ right to food availability, accessibility, and adequacy is outlined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Canada signed on to in 1976.

“Good nutrition is key to healthy families and healthy communities,” said Elias.  “I hope that bringing this issue to the United Nations will be another opportunity for the federal government to recognize how important effective implementation of Nutrition North is to our community.”

For additional information contact: 

Shay Kokiw 667-8942