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Cost Effectiveness Analysis – School Food Program In Inuit Nunangat

Purpose

To build a rationale and business case for funding of Inuit-led school food programs in Inuit Nunangat to be presented to government(s) and other partner organizations and, provide information that would help inform decisions around the design, cost-effectiveness and implementation of comprehensive Inuit school food programs.

Background

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)

ITK is the national representational organization for Canada’s 65,000 Inuit, the majority of whom live in four regions, including the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). Collectively, these four regions make up Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada. Inuit Nunangat includes 51 communities and encompasses roughly 35 percent of Canada’s landmass and more than 50 percent of its coastline.

The comprehensive land claim agreements that have been settled in Inuit Nunangat form a core component of ITK’s mandate. These land claims have the status of protected treaties under the Constitution. ITK remains committed to working in partnership with the Crown to fully implement these land claims. Consistent with its founding purpose, ITK represents the rights and interests of Inuit at the national level through a democratic governance structure that represents all Inuit regions.

ITK advocates for policies, programs and services that impact the health, social, cultural, political and environmental issues facing Inuit today. ITK is governed by a Board that is composed of the following members:

  • Chair and CEO, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • President, Makivik Corporation
  • President, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
  • President, Nunatsiavut Government

In addition to voting members, the following non-voting Permanent Participant Representatives also sit on the Board:

  • President, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada
  • President, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
  • President, National Inuit Youth Council

Inuit Crown Partnership Committee and the Food Security Work Plan

In February 2017, the Prime Minister and the President of ITK met and signed a declaration announcing the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee (ICPC).  The Committee includes the Prime Minister and select federal ministers, Inuit leaders from ITK, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Makivik Corporation, Nunatsiavut Government, National Inuit Youth Council, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, and the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada.  The declaration demonstrates the shared commitment to a renewed Inuit-Crown relationship between the Government of Canada and ITK underscoring the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.  The ICPC advances work on shared priority areas between Inuit and the federal government.   These areas are wide ranging and include the implementation of Inuit land claims agreements, infrastructure, climate change, legislation and food security among others.  The Committee monitors and reports back on progress approximately three times per year to ensure advancement of priorities.

On November 29, 2018, federal and Inuit leaders endorsed the creation of a new Inuit-Crown Food Security Working Group, which is co-chaired by ITK and First Nations and Inuit Health Branch-Indigenous Services Canada. Since April 2019, the ICPC Food Security Working Group has come together to provide a whole-of-government approach to the issue of food insecurity, leveraging the contribution of multiple Federal Departments and Agencies as well as ITK, the four Inuit regional Land Claim Organizations, National Inuit Youth Council, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, and the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada.

The 2020-2021 ICPC Food Security Work Plan focuses on a whole-of-government response to food insecurity and contains the following key objectives:

  • Enhance responsiveness to addressing vulnerabilities in the Inuit food system and improving food security;
  • Ensure transparency and accountability through Inuit-Crown partnerships; and,
  • Provide evidence-based analysis that leads to improved food security programs and interventions.

One of the deliverables recognized in the Work Plan is to determine the feasibility and value of school food programs within Inuit Nunangat through the development of a cost effectiveness analysis of the projected cost and benefits of establishing school food programs across Inuit Nunangat.  ITK has come together along with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch-Indigenous Services Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada to jointly undertake this work.  The work described in this RFP is to fulfill this deliverable.

Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy

On July 12, 2021, ITK released the Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy (INFSS).   The INFSS is the first strategy to advance Inuit-driven solutions for improving food security and creating a sustainable food system in Inuit Nunangat.

The INFSS has a vision to end hunger and support food sovereignty through the development of a sustainable food system that reflects our societal values, supports our well-being, and ensures our access to affordable, nutritious, safe, and culturally preferred foods.

Inuit food insecurity is one of the longest-lasting public health crises faced by a Canadian population.  According to the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 76 percent of Inuit aged 15 years and older are food insecure.  While Inuit and all Canadians have the right to food, there is no federal government action that sets out to improve food security specifically for Inuit communities.  The seriousness and complexity of food insecurity in Inuit Nunangat must be met with ambitious and coordinated solutions.  The INFSS identifies the drivers of food insecurity and lays out the actions that will help to improve food insecurity in our communities.

Recognizing the link between comprehensive, integrated school food programs to decreased food-insecurity rates, the INFSS lists the creation of an Inuit Nunangat School Food Program as one of its actions.  A deliverable to support work on this action was subsequently included in the ICPC Food Security Work Plan confirming commitment to the INFSS and support for its implementation.

School Food Programs in Inuit Nunangat

School-based food programs offer a promising strategy to improve children’s access to healthy and culturally preferred foods while supporting long-term benefits to health and well-being. An array of initiatives is offered within Inuit communities to provide access to food and related programming.  With food insecurity prevalence remaining extremely high in Inuit Nunangat, these programs can offer much needed support to children and their families who may not have access to sufficient food. Despite the necessity of these programs, many face continual challenges regarding funding, capacity, coordination and infrastructure among others.

Canada does not offer a national school food program to support the provision of nutritious meals to school children. Numerous federal departments are undertaking work in relation to school food programs and there has been commitment from the Government of Canada in Budget 2019 to move towards the creation of a National School Food Program.

Recognizing the unique circumstances of Inuit communities, a similarly unique approach would be required to undertake an Inuit Nunangat-wide school food program.  Having a comprehensive understanding of the school food program landscape across the Inuit regions, the process that would be required to undertake an Inuit Nunangat-wide school food program and the evidence and costing to support its implementation will be essential to undertaking such an initiative.

Scope

The successful applicant will be required to undertake the following work in consultation and collaboration with ITK staff, and the members of the ICPC Food Security Working Group through a phased approach.  Please note the focus of the work outlined in each phase may shift depending on contextual factors.

Phase 1: Literature Review and Examination of Current State:

  • Compile information and conduct an environmental scan (e.g., relevant background materials, strategic planning documents, policies, evaluations, reports etc.) on, but not limited to, the:
    • Government of Canada’s commitment to a national school food program;
    • unique considerations of an array of school food programs in Inuit communities from only essential programming to investments in infrastructure;
    • based on a literature review, evidence-based benefits of school food programs on food insecurity, educational and health outcomes etc. including both at the individual and community level;
    • current school food programs in each Inuit community including their scope, funding source and regional differences;
    • case studies of Indigenous/Inuit school food programs in Canada or internationally that are promising practices and provide information on successes/lessons learned;
    • existing barriers in programming;
    • existing gaps in programming; and,
    • COVID-19 pandemic-related investments to school food initiatives and lessons learned.
  • Consider information that may be useful for decision-makers to potentially financially support a program or programs. Some examples include, evidence about the potential for reduction of hunger, reduction of nutrition-related health conditions and associated costs, and for improving educational and employment outcomes; and,
  • Examine evidence related to the performance and impact of different models of school food programming, including experience from school food programs in a range of jurisdictions, and consideration of its applicability to the specific circumstances in Inuit Nunangat.

Phase 2: Engagement and Analysis

  • Develop an engagement plan, discussion guide and conduct key informant interviews to further inform the areas above;
  • Develop clear objectives for school food programming to inform the development and evaluation of a range of options; and,
  • Conduct an economic analysis to cost a range of Inuit Nunangat wide school food programming and outline the potential benefits and savings for the implementation of each initiative (e.g., sliding scale option).

Phase 3: Develop Options

  • To inform the design and delivery of school food programs in Inuit Nunangat, develop a comprehensive report and executive summary while providing direction and options for a way forward and how this may be implemented, including costing. Consideration must be given to regional variations.
    • Include which factors may comprise the design of school food programming in Inuit Nunangat. For example, what meal(s) should be provided, universal versus targeted programming, respect for cultural practices, nutrition standards, delivery responsibilities and mechanisms, roles of Provinces, Territories and local governments, and potential needs for resources to establish school kitchens and/or address other infrastructure needs;
    • Consider which governments/departments and stakeholders could be involved, and how, and what process could be followed to establish school food programs in Inuit Nunangat; and,
    • Outline proposed process of instigating school food programs in each of the four Inuit regions, while highlighting key regional differences.

Phase 4: Finalize and Present the Report

  • Work with ITK staff and members of the ICPC Food Security Working Group to validate and refine the final report;
  • Respond to questions and requests for clarification from ITK staff and members of the ICPC Food Security Working Group;
  • Present versions to ITK staff, Inuit Land Claims Organizations, federal government departments and other partners for feedback, and revise the report as necessary. This may require more than one revision; and,
  • Complete all revisions, and finalize the report for submission to ITK.

Proposal

Through this RFP, we are seeking an experienced applicant with an in-depth knowledge of Inuit within Inuit Nunangat, as well as their governance structures.  We require a specialist in conducting economic analyses who can support the ICPC Food Security Working Group in building an evidence-based case for investment in an Inuit Nunangat school food program. Your proposal must clearly include the following criteria:

  • Project description, outlining a sound, comprehensive approach that covers all tasks outlined in Section V (Scope of Work Requirements);
  • Description of a collaborative and participatory approach to this work, including detailed steps of approach for involving ICPC Food Security Working Group members in developing, validating and refining the final deliverable;
  • Outline of expected results, including potential impact on communities;
  • Achievable milestones with timelines;
  • Budget(s) and budget justifications that fit with the project description, scope, milestones and expected results that are inclusive of estimates of the level of effort for each team member and the daily and hourly billing rate for each; and,
  • Examples of previous projects that demonstrate experience with a similar scope of work.

In order to be considered, your application must also clearly explain how you meet the following:

Qualifications:

  • A demonstrated ability to collaboratively conduct a comprehensive environmental scan and economic analysis of community programming;
  • Education, past experience, interest and knowledge of Inuit health and wellness priorities;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Inuit Nunangat with respect to the unique political, geographical and cultural autonomy of each of the four Inuit regions;
  • Knowledge and consideration of ITK strategies, frameworks and action plans; and,
  • Experience working in partnership with Indigenous/Inuit organizations.
  • A background and experience related to Indigenous and/or Inuit nutrition, food security and school food programs; and,
  • Experience working in an educational institution or school setting.

Interviews and references may be required upon request.

Due to the ongoing and changing public health guidelines and recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not anticipated that travel will be required to conduct this work.  As such, it is not recommended that travel expenses be included as part of the budget.

Scoring: Proposals will be scored out of a total of 100 points, including up to 40 for the qualifications and capacity of the proponent; up to 30 points for methodology and approach; up to 20 points for the budget and cost-effectiveness; and up to 10 points for overall quality and understanding of the assignment. The assignment will be awarded to the applicant with the highest score.

Budget: Value for money will be a key consideration in assessing the proposals.

We anticipate that this work will begin December 20, 2021, with an initial version ready for submission by April 2022.  The work is expected to continue until June 2022.

Submission Deadline: Your electronic submission should be sent by 4:00 pm EST on November 24, 2021 to Lauren Goodman, Manager – Health and Social Development, at goodman@itk.ca.

Disclosure: The entirety of the RFP process may include federal representatives from Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada and Indigenous Services Canada. The role of federal representatives will be to provide an advisory role, support the evaluation and selection process, participate in discussions with the successful applicant, provide appropriate background materials, as well as review and provide feedback on the report.

Conflict of Interest: Officials representing Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada and Indigenous Services Canada are or have been part of detailing the requirements described in the RFP. Applicants/bidders may contact ITK for any clarifications about the RFP but shall not engage any of the involved representatives to assist in the development of any proposal responding to the RFP or to perform work to be conducted pursuant to any contract under this RFP. Failure of the applicant/bidder to abide by these restrictions shall result in immediate disqualification of that applicant/bidder’s proposal.

Questions: Please direct any questions in writing only to Kiana Foster, Senior Policy Advisor, at foster@itk.ca.

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