IQALUIT, Nunavut – High food prices and pervasive poverty in Nunavut mean hunger is a fact of life in the territory, despite an array of services, a revival of country foods and a strong spirit of community co-operation. Some numbers:
Number of families using the Niqinik Nuatsivik Food Bank every two weeks in 2001: 30
Population of Nunavut in 2014: 36,585 people of which 80 per cent are Inuit, and more than a third are under 15 years old.
Employment growth: 7,200 out of 14,000 people over the age of 15 had a job in 2004; now 12,600 out of 23,000 people over 15 are working. That’s an employment rate of about 52 per cent a decade ago and just over 54.5 per cent now.
Unemployment rate in 2004: 13.6 per cent.
Unemployment rate in November 2014: 11.7 per cent.
Unemployment rate across Canada in November 2014: 6.6 per cent.
Unemployment rate among Inuit in Nunavut: 18.7 per cent in 2004; 16.5 per cent now.
Percentage of the population receiving welfare: 49.1 — the highest in the country. British Columbia was second at 10.5 per cent.
Cost of a return flight to Ottawa: $2,500.
Cost of a meal for one in a nice Iqaluit restaurant: Approximately $100.
Cost of two litres of orange juice at an Iqaluit grocer: $26.29.
Cost for four litres of milk: $10.39, with a sign advising shoppers it would have been $20.91 without a federal subsidy.
Average cost of chicken in Nunavut: $16 per kilogram.
Average cost of chicken across Canada: $7 per kilogram.
Average cost of 2.5 kilograms of flour in Nunavut: $13
Average cost of 2.5 kilograms of flour across Canada: $5
Percentage drop in food prices since last year: four.
Percentage of Inuit households considered food insecure: 70. That’s eight times the national average.
Sources: The Canadian Press, Statistics Canada, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, 2014 Nunavut Food Price Survey, Inuit Health Survey.