Advertisement

Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 105, Issue 5, pp e395–e397 | Cite as

Is the Nutrition North Canada retail subsidy program meeting the goal of making nutritious and perishable food more accessible and affordable in the North?

  • Tracey GallowayEmail author
Commentary
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

The Nutrition North Canada program is a federal retail subsidy designed to make nutritious, perishable food more widely available and affordable in northern communities. Implemented in April 2011, Nutrition North replaced the Food Mail freight subsidy long used to offset the high cost of transporting perishable food to remote towns and villages lacking year-round road access. An examination of program and government reporting to date reveals little evidence that Nutrition North is meeting its goal of improving the availability and affordability of nutritious food. The fiscal reporting and food costing tools used by the program are insufficiently detailed to evaluate the accuracy of community subsidy rates and the degree to which retailers are passing on the subsidy to consumers. Action is needed to modify the program reporting structure to achieve greater accountability among retailers, and lower and more consistent food pricing across northern communities.

Keywords

Food nutrition policy food supply public health Canada Arctic regions 

Résumé

Le programme Nutrition Nord Canada est une subvention fédérale au commerce de détail qui vise à rendre les aliments périssables nutritifs plus largement disponibles et abordables dans les communautés nordiques. Mis en œuvre en avril 2011, Nutrition Nord a remplacé le programme d’aide au transport Aliments-poste, qui a longtemps servi à compenser les coûts élevés du transport des aliments périssables vers les villes et villages éloignés sans accès routier toute l’année. Un examen des rapports de programmes et des rapports gouvernementaux jusqu’à maintenant ne révèle guère d’éléments indiquant que Nutrition Nord répond à son objectif d’améliorer la disponibilité et l’abordabilité des aliments nutritifs. Les outils de rapports financiers et de calcul des coûts des aliments utilisés par le programme sont insuffisamment détaillés pour évaluer l’exactitude des taux de subvention des communautés ou la mesure dans laquelle les détaillants transfèrent la subvention aux consommateurs. Il faut agir pour modifier la structure de rapport du programme pour responsabiliser davantage les détaillants et pour réduire et uniformiser les prix des aliments dans les communautés nordiques.

Motsclés

aliments politique nutritionnelle approvisionnement en nourriture santé publique Canada arctique 

References

  1. 1.
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Nutrition North Canada Reports. 2013. Available at: http://www.nutritionnorthcanada.gc.ca/eng/1366902607415/1366903497800 (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    CBC News. Nutrition North food subsidy program under fire, February 20, 2012. Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/02/20/ north-nutrition-north-letter.html (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    CBC News. Liberal critic calls Nutrition North a ‘total failure’. June 27, 2012. Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/06/27/north-liberal-critical-nutrition-north.html (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Nunatsiaq News. Nunavik MP slams Nutrition North in parliament. October 4, 2012. Available at: http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674nunaviks_mp_slams_nutrition_north_in_parliament/ (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    De Schutter O. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food: Preliminary Remarks on the Visit to Canada from 6 to 16 May 2012. 2012. Available at: http://www.nfu.ca/sites/www.nfu.ca/files/201205%20Canada%20preliminary%20report%20on%20the%20Right%20to%20Food.pdf (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Office of the Auditor General of Canada. Planned Reports to Parliament. May 6, 2014. Available at: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/ parl_fs_e_29401.html (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Expert Panel on the State of Knowledge of Food Security in Northern Canada. Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge. 2014. Ottawa, ON: Council of Canadian Academies. Available at: http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/assessments/completed/food-security.aspx (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    House of Commons Canada. From Food Mail to Nutrition North Canada: Report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. March 2011. Available at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4823376 (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dargo G. Food Mail Program Review: Findings and Recommendations of the Minister’s Special Representative. December 31, 2008. Available at: http://caid.ca/FoodMailRev123108.pdf (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Audit of the Food Mail Program. June 2008. Available at: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100011695/ 1100100011696 (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Food Mail Review: Interim Report, March 2009. Available at: http://caid.ca/FoodMailIntRev031509.pdf (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Audit of Nutrition North Canada. June 2013. Available at: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1375887194752/1375887248731 (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Eligible Communities and Subsidy Rates. 2013. Available at: http://www.nutritionnorthcanada.gc.ca/eng/1366902607415/1366903497800 (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nunavut Bureau of Statistics. Pilot Nunavut Food Price Survey. Rankin Inlet, NU: Government of Nunavut, April 2013.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. First Report of the Advisory Board, Nutrition North Canada, for the Period February 2011 to March 2012. Available at: http://www.nutritionnorthcanada.gc.ca/eng/1369831376572/1369831396121 (Accessed July 31, 2014).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations