Northern Isolated Community Initiatives (NICI) Fund


Table of contents

About NICI

The Northern Isolated Community Initiatives (NICI) Fund supports community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems with an emphasis on innovative and practical solutions to increase food security across the North.

NICI was announced in Budget 2019 as a $15 million investment, over five years starting in the 2019-20 fiscal. CanNor is implementing this fund by working with other federal and territorial partners to develop solutions to food security issues.

NICI aims to enhance Indigenous and northern food security by supporting local, community-led projects that reduce dependence on the southern food industry and the associated costs (e.g. transportation and storage) for northern communities. This initiative will support a variety of projects through the following streams:

  1. Support for Northern Food Businesses: This stream will provide funding to Northern businesses and communities to build a strong territorial food industry and help reduce food insecurity using practical approaches.
  2. Support for Northern Territorial Food Systems: This stream will provide funding to territorial initiatives identified by the Northern Food Working Group (NFWG), a federal–territorial working group created to increase economic opportunities in the territories related to growing, harvesting, and processing healthy food.
  3. Support for the Northern Food Innovation Challenge: This stream will support innovative community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems to help improve food security in Canada's territories.

Who should apply?

NICI supports food and agriculture related businesses, as well as other public or private organizations with an emphasis on ensuring fair access to funding for Indigenous communities. Investments will strengthen existing and new food related initiatives with the goal of improving and diversifying economic activity in the territories.

Priority will be given to proposed projects that address food security in Indigenous communities or other vulnerable populations.


NICI is open to a wide-variety of organizations, including not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, industry associations, local or Indigenous governments and for-profit businesses. Territorial government organizations are eligible through the Northern Territorial Food Systems stream.

For the Northern Food Businesses and Northern Territorial Food Systems streams, eligible activities will help strengthen the broader northern food system through initiatives such as community freezers, greenhouses, and local food production projects. Priority will be given to proposals that provide skills training for local and Indigenous food producers.

For the Northern Food Innovation Challenge, eligible activities are focused on innovations that could provide a direct impact on reducing issues related to food insecurity or strengthening food systems in one or more of the territories. Priority will be given to recipients who can demonstrate proven capacity to deliver projects in the North and interest/engagement in territorial food security.

For more information

If you have any questions about NICI, please contact us by email at or reach out to one of our regional offices by phone.

Regional Office

Iqaluit, Nunavut

Tel: 867-975-3757

Northwest Territories Regional office

Yellowknife, NWT

Tel: 867-669-2608

Regional Office

Whitehorse, Yukon

Tel: 867-667-3346

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