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Rankin hamlet council accepts Jordan’s Principle; close to 1,100 kids to benefit from program in community

Darren Flynn, senior administrative officer with the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet, said nearly 1.100 youth will benefit from the introduction of the Jordan’s Principle program in the community. NNSL file photo

Rankin Inlet Hamlet Council voted to approve the introduction of the Jordan’s Principle program into the community on Monday.

Senior administrative officer Darren Flynn said once the hamlet gets its contract in place with Indigenous Services Canada, it will be rolling out the program as soon as possible.

He said he is already working on recruiting the two positions of food security co-ordinators the program creates, as well as securing them a space to work from.

“The total amount approved is $6.224 million, but on that, there’s overhead costs and wages, so the amount for food distribution will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $5.8 million for the balance of 2024-25,” said Flynn.

Jordan’s Principle allows for $500 per month support each for youth 18 and younger, with an extra $250 for youth aged one day to three years from the Inuit Child First Initiative/Jordan’s Principle programs through partnership with the Indigenous Kids Network of Canada.

Jordan River Anderson from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba passed away in hospital at the age of five in 2005 because of governmental arguments at the provincial and federal levels.

Jordan’s Principle works to ensure First Nations youth (Inuit are also eligible) aged up to 18 (19 in some provinces) have access to the services they need. The program covers health, education and social services, including specialized programs based on cultural beliefs and practices, specialized school transportation, medical supplies and equipment, and many, many others.

Flynn said as for the number of eligible kids in Rankin, Statistics Canada puts the tally at 1,048.

He said as far as what Jordan’s Principle means to the hamlet, any program that addresses food security in the community is always quite valuable.

“I’ve seen it here with some of our staff members, who lead responsible lives and look after their kids well. They’re working, but they’ve also seen tremendous increases in food costs. That holds true for everybody right clean across the country, but it gets further exacerbated here.

“With the amount of increases we’ve seen in fuel prices and electricity prices, this will have a positive impact on a lot of people in Rankin Inlet. This will have a huge impact on those people who are, perhaps, on the lower end of the income scale in town, or, perhaps, are reliant on assistance.

“But it will impact everyone in the community, in that it will decrease food insecurity, and it will certainly help offset the challenging increases in food prices and every other cost to live in Rankin Inlet that’s occurred during the past three to five years.”

Flynn said each transaction under the program will have a detailed invoice or receipt with it, which will be part of the job of the security co-ordinators to ensure.

He said the hamlet will do everything possible to ensure the program is not abused in any manner.

“If we were to find, for example, some people were selling food or whatnot, then they would run the risk of being suspended from the program.

“The contract we’ll sign with Indigenous Services Canada is pretty prescriptive and we’ll make sure we follow that. This is a huge gift for everyone in our community. People need to realize just how lucky they are to be benefiting from this and they’ll have to live within the rules.

“If they don’t live within the rules, then we will have the unfortunate duty of enforcing them.

“Maybe I’m being optimistic here, or looking at this a little too favorably, but I’m hoping people are going to see this for the significant benefit that it is, appreciate the program and play by the rules.”

About the Author: Darrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative

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