3 new territorial programs aim to help N.W.T. hunters and trappers

The programs are meant to enhance food security in the territory and train the next generation of harvesters.

Programs meant to enhance food security and train the next generation of harvesters

A rack of fox pelts on display in the Yellowknife offices of Francois Rossouw, a furbearer biologist with the N.W.T. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The territorial government also announced it was increasing grubstake payments this year for eligible trappers. (John Last/CBC)

There are three new territorial government programs to help Northwest Territories harvesters and families going out on the land this fall.

The programs are meant to enhance food security by decreasing people's reliance on store-bought food, which is costly in remote communities.

The government says the programs, which put a total of $330,000 toward supporting harvesters, will help provide knowledge and training to the next generation of hunters and trappers. 

"It is my hope that this funding will help offset some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities this year, while helping to build resiliency and self-reliance into the future," Shane Thompson, minister of Environment and Natural Resources said in a news release about the programs.

There is a program to help fund families in need go out on the land (a total of $50,000); a regional harvesting training and mentorship program that promotes harvesting that brings food into communities (a total of $260,000); and a trapper mentorship program, a pilot project that will support 10 beginner trappers (a total of $20,000).

In a news release on Thursday, the government says it will begin accepting applications to the programs in mid-October.

Increase in payments for pelts

Also on Thursday, the government announced it was increasing grubstake payments this year for eligible trappers under the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Grubstake payments are meant to help offset the yearly start-up costs of trapping, says the government. 

Now, trappers who brought in fewer than 20 pelts are eligible for a payment of $5 per pelt, and trappers who bring in 20 or more pelts are eligible for $10 per pelt. There is now no limit on payments per trapper.  

Changes to the payments went into effect on Sept. 15 and payments will be made directly to trappers' accounts.