Ontario Working to Reduce Poverty in the North
Province Partnering with First Nations to Increase Food Access and Employment Opportunities
Ontario is investing in four community projects that are supporting new ways to help people break the cycle of poverty, increase access to safe and nutritious food, find good jobs and end homelessness in Kenora and the surrounding area.
Pikangikum First Nation will receive funding to measure the impact of Kahminoshkahkemakahkiin miijiman imaa tahshiikewiinik, an initiative that aims to have a positive impact on the community by improving nutrition and economic opportunities. The initiative will teach 75 high school students how to prepare food and will support the school nutrition and lunch program by helping purchase locally harvested food from local traditional food procurers. It will also provide educational opportunities for youth and Elders on food-based knowledge.
Fort Severn First Nation will receive funding to measure the impact of a pilot that will support up to 300 young mothers and their children to return to school so they can graduate. This pilot will provide them with traditional Cree and Western-based parenting and life skills through self-paced online learning modules. It will also engage children to help them stay in school.
Kasabonika Lake First Nation will receive funding to measure the impact of Back to Our Roots, an economic and food security project that aims to revitalize traditional food harvesting to subsidize income and provide food to community members living in poverty. Youth will receive education and mentorship opportunities about traditional methods of hunting, gathering, preparing, and storing food. The project will also develop a comprehensive food protection strategy.
Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation will receive funding to measure the impact of the Anishinaabe Ashandiiziwin food security project, which organizes lessons by community members with expertise in traditional methods of food harvesting. Participants will learn traditional skills to harvest foods and relevant cultural teachings as well as practice traditional ceremonies.
Working together with Indigenous partners to reduce poverty is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners and create a better future for everyone in the province.
- Pikangikum First Nation is receiving over $830,000 to help evaluate their Indigenous food security initiative.
- Fort Severn First Nation is receiving over $600,000 to help evaluate their education support initiative.
- Kasabonika Lake First Nation is receiving over $590,000 to help evaluate their Indigenous food security initiative.
- Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation is receiving over $180,000 to help evaluate their Indigenous food initiative.
- In total, 48 innovative, community-led projects are being funded through Ontario's Local Poverty Reduction Fund, which help groups disproportionately affected by poverty get into housing, develop skills and find employment. Those disproportionately affected by poverty include women, single parents, people with disabilities, youth, newcomers, visible minorities, seniors and Indigenous Peoples. Part of this funding supports data collection, which will help develop more effective poverty reduction programs across the province.
- Ontario is investing over $6 million to 20 employment and income security projects, more than $5 million to 14 projects from Indigenous-led organizations, $3 million to 12 projects that are homelessness-related, and more than $4.5 million to 14 projects that are related to food security.
- These projects focus on local community partnerships and include a third-party evaluation component, which is important because better data will help communities develop better solutions to increasing food security, reducing child poverty and homelessness, and helping people find jobs and earn a stable income.
“Ontario is investing in programs that will measurably improve the lives of those most affected by poverty. By harnessing the creativity of local partners, identifying innovative community-driven solutions, and building on evidence-based best practices, we can make strong inroads in tackling poverty.”