Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

May 21, 2010 09:39 ET

Government of Canada Announces Nutrition North Canada to Support Healthy Eating in the North

IQALUIT, NUNAVUT--(Marketwire - May 21, 2010) - A new northern food retail subsidy program called Nutrition North Canada will make healthy food more accessible and affordable to Canadians living in isolated Northern communities, thanks to the Government of Canada.

Nutrition North Canada, which replaces the Food Mail Program, was announced today by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, and Minister for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Minister Responsible for the North.

Under the new program, the most nutritious perishable foods such as fruits, vegetables, bread, fresh meats, milk and eggs will receive the highest rate of subsidy. The revised list of eligible items also includes a provision to improve access to commercially-produced traditional, Northern foods.

"Our government has listened to Northerners who know and use this program the most. We believe that Nutrition North Canada will increase access to more affordable, nutritious food for Canadians living in remote Northern communities," said Minister Strahl.

Nutrition North Canada, which will benefit people living in eligible communities in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador, will be implemented in phases. The transition to the new program begins with the release today of a revised eligibility list, which will come into effect on October 3, 2010. Full implementation will occur on April 1, 2011.

New funding has been provided for Health Canada to partner with communities to offer culturally-appropriate nutrition and health promotion initiatives. These nutrition promotion and retail education initiatives will provide vital information on the use, marketing and preparation of nutritious foods to support healthy eating. The new program's eligibility list will also better reflect key Health Canada nutrition policies, such as Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide, which promote a pattern of healthy eating over a lifetime.

"A strong North means healthy people and healthy communities," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Our government is committed to working more closely with communities across Canada's North to raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy diet so Canadian families can make informed choices about healthy foods based on Canada's Food Guide."

The new program is now a cost-effective, market-driven model to ensure greater efficiency and transparency. The Government of Canada will directly subsidize retailers and wholesalers who already ship large volumes of food and goods to the North. Individuals and institutions will still be able to place personal orders and benefit from the subsidy. This is particularly important for those with special dietary needs, and preserves a measure of competition for Northern retailers.

An Advisory Board is being established to give Northerners a direct voice in the program and provide advice related to its management and effectiveness.

"I am pleased to announce that Elizabeth Copland will chair the new Advisory Board, which has been created to give Northerners an ongoing voice in the program's operation," said Minister Strahl. Through her professional endeavours and dedicated volunteer work over the last 25 years, Ms. Copland has acquired extensive experience of northern issues that will benefit the new Advisory Board. Additional Board members will be announced in the coming months.

Through the 2010 Jobs and Growth Budget, the Government of Canada has committed $45M over two years to fund the new model. This new investment provides stable funding to support access to a wide range of healthy food options for Northerners. Including existing funding, this brings the annual budget to $60M. The new investment provides stable funding to ensure program sustainability.

Today's announcement reinforces the Government of Canada's commitment to the Northern Strategy, which aims to strengthen Arctic sovereignty, protect the North's environmental heritage, promote social and economic development, and improve and devolve Northern governance.

This release is also available on the Internet at

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Contact Information

  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    Health Canada
    Media Relations
    Office of the Honourable
    Chuck Strahl
    Michelle Yao
    Office of the Honourable
    Leona Aglukkaq
    Josee Bellemare
    Press Secretary