Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

February 12, 2011 10:00 ET

Statement by the Honourable John Duncan Regarding Northern Food Costs

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 12, 2011) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, issued the following statement today:

"I would like to provide clarity to the prices of some food items recently mentioned in the media. These prices are not a result of the Nutrition North Canada program. The Nutrition North Canada program is not yet in place. It is only on April 1, 2011, that the program will officially replace the Food Mail Program, which means only after April 1, 2011 will new subsidy rates come into effect. These rates will provide a higher level of subsidy for the most nutritious perishable foods such as fruits, vegetables, bread, meats, milk and eggs, as well as a lower level of subsidy for other items. Shoppers that are concerned about current grocery costs are encouraged to contact their local retailer.

I want to assure Northerners that Nutrition North Canada will be a sustainable and efficient way to help Northerners access healthy food. The new program provides an incentive to ensure that the most cost-effective ways of transporting non-perishable foods are used, such as the sea-lift. The new program will also provide flexibility to retailers and suppliers to seek cost-effective solutions that support access to nutritious, perishable foods. I want to be clear that this change is happening to ensure that Northerners benefit from improved and increased access to nutritious and affordable foods.

With the new program, the flat shipping rates that were a feature of the Food Mail Program will be replaced by "subsidy rates" on a per kilogram basis for each category of eligible items, customized to every community to account for differences in transportation and operation costs. For example, the subsidy rate for Grise Fjord will be higher than the rate for Iqaluit.

This new program is based on extensive engagement with Northerners. I recently met with the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board to discuss their mandate, which includes listening to Northerners and making recommendations about the program as it progresses.

Northerners have said they want a subsidy program focussed on the most nutritious foods and with greater accountability and transparency. I am confident that Nutrition North Canada will address these needs."

This statement is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Michele-Jamali Paquette
    Canada
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    819-997-0002
    or
    Media Relations
    Indian and Northern Affairs
    819-953-1160