Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 27, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Nunavut Harvester Support Program set to re-open April 1

"It's modified to meet the needs of harvesters"

SARAH ROGERS
An Iqaluit hunter skins and butchers a seal during a 2013 event. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has re-launched its harvester support program, which will officially re-open to applicants April 1. (FILE PHOTO)
An Iqaluit hunter skins and butchers a seal during a 2013 event. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has re-launched its harvester support program, which will officially re-open to applicants April 1. (FILE PHOTO)

Following a three-year hiatus, Nunavut’s land claims organization has re-launched the Nunavut Harvester Support Program, which will officially re-open to applicants on April 1.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. says it’s revamped the program to make it more “relevant and responsive” to the needs of Inuit harvesters in the territory.

“I think this is a good program,” said NTI Vice President James Eetoolook. “The cost of buying equipment in Nunavut is quite high. Country food is nutrition and we have to keep it accessible.”

The program was first established in 1993 as a $30 million fund by the Government of the Northwest Territories and NTI’s predecessor, the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut.

But NTI became concerned about exhausting the program’s funds and decided in 2014 to cancel the subsidies while the organization reviewed how it was delivered.

At that time in 2014, the fund had declined to only $13 million.

Eetoolook said the revamped program offers four different types of subsidies: for harvesting equipment, safety and communication equipment, disaster relief and community hunts.

Equipment eligible for subsidy includes everything from rifles, camping gear and sewing machines for making warm outdoor clothing.

Safety and communication subsidies are available to purchase items such as floaters, paddles, SPOT or GPS devices and satellite phones. The latter has grown in popularity among hunters, Eetoolook said, and is considered more reliable than two-way radio.

Under the previous hunter support program, harvesters were only eligible for community hunt subsidies for special occasions such as a holiday feast.

But now communities can apply for support towards planned hunts so long as 50 per cent of the harvest is distributed to the community.

“There’s not too many changes from the previous program, but it’s modified to meet the needs of harvesters,” Eetoolook said.

While individual households used to be eligible for support under the program, subsidies will now be offered to individual families, he said, given that multiple families can live in the same home.

Families are eligible for $1,000 worth of harvesting equipment each year, and another $1,000 for safety and communications equipment.

Nunavut communities can also apply for subsidies from a pot of funding.

The newly-launched harvester program has been brought in-house and is now administered by NTI’s department of Inuit Programs and Services through a new charitable trust.

The trust is starting off with about $14 million, funds leftover from the previous Hunter Income Support Trust.

But Eetoolook said NTI is banking on more support from both the governments of Nunavut and Canada to maintain the program over the long-term.

“We’ve been asking both levels of government for funding,” Eetoolook said. “We’ve still yet to hear from them.”

More information and application forms for the program will be available starting April 1 from local Hunter and trapping organizations or online at www.tunngavik.com.

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