Thank you so much for the introduction, Mr. Chair.
I'm glad to be here today to discuss and answer questions about the 2022-23 supplementary estimates (B) for northern affairs.
Joining me today is Paula Isaak, associate deputy minister of CIRNAC; Georgina Lloyd, assistant deputy minister of Northern Affairs; and Darlene Bess, chief finances results and delivery officer.
CIRNAC's final supplementary estimates for 2022-23 reflect a net increase of $6.3 billion, and of that, $130.8 million is for northern affairs.
My department continues to work on a number of priorities together with Indigenous, territorial and Northern partners. One of the most pressing, and a significant part of these supplementary estimates, is addressing food insecurity across the North and Arctic, because everyone deserves access to affordable and healthy food, no matter where they live.
Much has been said about nutrition north over the last few weeks. I’d like to be clear: no one government program will address food insecurity on its own, which is why we are taking a whole of government approach.
New funding for Northern Affairs includes $87.5 million for Northern Food Security, which was allocated through Budget 2021 and will allow the nutrition north Canada grant and contribution program to better support local food systems in communities across the North and Arctic.
This initiative also broadens the harvesters support grant with additional funding for the new community food programs fund to support food-sharing activities that include market, country and locally grown foods. Together, the harvesters support grant and community food programs fund mark a fundamental shift by empowering communities to determine their own food security priorities. These new measures were co-developed in full partnership and reflect the priorities of northerners.
With respect to climate change and cleaner energy, communities in the North and Arctic are seeing the effects of climate change at a much higher and drastic rate than in the rest of Canada. It’s impacting the traditional way of life and more.
These estimates also include $5.5 million to support flood mapping in First Nation communities in the North.
Many northern and Arctic communities have no choice but to rely on costly and polluting diesel to light and heat their homes. The estimates also include $6.2 million of re-profiled contribution funding for clean energy projects in the north, allowing for “by the north, for the north” solutions in the transition to clean energy and reducing reliance on diesel. The two streams consist of $2.2 million for community clean energy and $4 million to support planning and feasibility for hydroelectricity and grid interconnection projects in the north.
Just last month, I travelled to Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit to announce our government's support for the feasibility and planning of the Kivalliq hydro-fibre link project, where we invested $7 million, and the Iqaluit hydroelectric project, where we invested $4 million. These important projects aim to get Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit off diesel and onto cleaner, more reliable energy.
As part of our efforts to clean up our environment, there is also $1 million in new funding to begin collecting data to address plastic pollution in Northern environments.
There is also $28.5 million being brought forward from the previous year for the Northern Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program to advance planned remediation activities in 2022‑23.
This reprofile will support the reduction of risk to human health and the environment, and will ensure that affected communities see the social and economic benefits of these clean ups.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to appear before you today and provide a summary of how these estimates will support Northern Affairs.
It's great to be here. Qujannamiik.