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Nunavut passes law protecting food donors

A Nunavut MLA had a private member's bill passed Tuesday that would allow people to donate food without fear of legal action if someone gets sick.

MLA hopes private member's bill will increase donations

A Nunavut MLA had a private member’s bill passed Tuesday that would allow people to donate food without fear of legal action if someone gets sick.

Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott presented Bill 46 — the Donation of Food Act for a first reading on the first day of the legislative assembly’s winter sitting.

Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott had a private member’s bill passed in the Nunavut legislative assembly Tuesday that would allow people to donate food without fear of legal action if someone gets sick. (CBC)

Iqaluit West MLA Monica Ell said at first glance, a bill like this might not be needed somewhere like Nunavut where food sharing is an integral part of Inuit culture.

"In fact many Inuit I spoke to did not understand upon first hearing that a food donor might be sued if someone became sick from eating donated food. It's just not our way."

The bill passed all three readings on Tuesday.

Elliott said he started thinking about this type of legislation over a year and a half ago and started looking into it more after the Northwest Territories and Yukon passed similar legislation.

He said he has received letters of support from organizations such as Feeding My Family and also businesses such as the Frobisher Inn, the Northwest Company and Arctic Co-operatives Limited.

"Now that there's a piece of legislation there, they would be able to and feel more confident donating," he said.

"So hopefully it means more food on the shelves of the food bank and more donations at the soup kitchens."

The bill won't become law until Commissioner Edna Elias gives it royal assent at the end of the session.