CAMBRIDGE BAY, NU, Aug. 21, 2019 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is ensuring Northern Policy is developed by Northerners and for Northerners. As part of its response to the concerns and realities of Northerners, Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade and Member of Parliament for Labrador, today announced important improvements to the Nutrition North Canada program on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
These changes include:
- expanding the list of eligible non-perishable items which are subsidized to include those transported via sealift, barge, or winter road, as well as family-friendly items such as macaroni, flour and diapers.
- the addition of feminine hygiene products to the Nutrition North Canada eligibility list to make these products more accessible and affordable and help the health and well-being of women and girls in isolated Northern communities.
The Government of Canada is also establishing a Northern-based compliance and audit review committee in the coming months to improve transparency and accountability by providing Northern representatives and firms the opportunity to participate in the review of the audit reports.
Today's announcement builds on a series of improvements that our government has made to the Nutrition North Canada Program since 2015. These have included:
- expanding the program in 2016 to include all isolated northern communities and launched consultations to change the program.
- committing to introducing a Harvesters Support Grant to help lower the high costs associated with traditional hunting and harvesting activities, and we have continued to work on this initiative with our partners.
- implementing accountability measures including the point-of-sale system so customers can clearly see subsidy savings for eligible food items on their receipts as well as updating program eligibility criteria to ensure that only establishments that serve the residents of isolated northern communities are eligible
- investing over $127 million to expand Nutrition North Canada to include all isolated northern communities, support program changes including new subsidy levels and introduce the Harvesters Support Grant.
The improvements we have made to Nutrition North Canada are directly informed by feedback from our partners. We continue to listen to Northerners to ensure they have consistent access to healthy, affordable food.
"Since 2016, we have listened to Northerners, and their feedback has informed all our changes to the Nutrition North Canada program. We have expanded the program to all isolated Northern communities, increased its transparency, and we are working to create a Harvesters Support Grant. We are proud of the actions taken, and today we are excited to announce further improvements to Nutrition North Canada. We thank all our partners whose input has been vital to this process, and we will continue to work with you to ensure that Northerners have access to healthy, affordable food."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
"Northerners told us that they want greater savings on healthy foods that are targeted at supporting healthy families. The new subsidy on eligible items delivered by surface transportation as well as the addition of feminine hygiene products reflects what we heard from Northerners. Together, we will continue to explore solutions developed by Northerners for Northerners to ensure the program is serving those who need it."
Yvonne Jones, M.P.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade
"The Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board recognizes and appreciates that the needs of Northerners continue to be addressed through these additional improvements to the NNC program. Once again, based on the feedback we heard from Northerners, the introduction of a new subsidy for certain staple goods transported by winter roads and sealift will provide additional and needed financial relief to the families in the Nutrition North Canada service area."
Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board Chair
- In 2016, the Government engaged with Northerners, Indigenous organizations, , provincial and territorial governments and key partners to understand how Nutrition North Canada could become more transparent, cost-effective, and culturally appropriate.
- Budget 2016 provided an additional $64.5 million over five years and $13.8 million per year ongoing to expand Nutrition North Canada to support all northern isolated communities.
- On October 1, 2016, as part of a Budget 2016, the Nutrition North Canada program expanded to an additional 37 isolated northern communities.
- On December 10, 2018, the Government announced a series of improvements to the Nutrition North Canada including a new fully revised subsidized foods list; a new highest-level subsidy rate specifically for milk, frozen fruit, frozen vegetables, infant formula, and infant food; and an increase to the two current subsidy rates to help further lower cost of perishable, nutritious food.
- The 2018 Fall Economic Statement announced an additional $62.6 million investment over five years starting in 2019–20, with $10.4 million ongoing, in the Nutrition North Canada program to support program changes and introduce a Harvesters Support Grant.
Changes and updates to Nutrition North Canada
The Government of Canada is making additional updates to the Nutrition North Canada program to reflect what was heard during engagement with Northern and Indigenous families, community members, other key stakeholders and provincial and territorial governments.
- Expansion of the NNC program subsidy to cover eligible non-perishable items transported by sealift and winter road
To help lower the prices of non-perishable items, the Government of Canada is introducing a new subsidy level of $1.00 per kilogram for eligible items shipped by seasonal ground transportation (winter road, sealift, or barge) for all eligible communities. This change will allow the subsidy to be applied to eligible non-perishable staples and family-friendly items such as macaroni, flour and diapers which are normally transported by these modes of transportation.
Because sealift and winter road freight rates are much less expensive than shipping by air, this additional subsidy will have a significant impact on lowering prices of eligible items relative to airlift shipments. This cost-effective measure will not only reduce the costs of many eligible non-perishable items but will allow the program to subsidize more perishable, nutritious foods that are only shipped by air.
- Addition of feminine hygiene products to the Nutrition North Canada eligibility list to make these products more affordable.
To improve access and affordability, feminine hygiene products will now be added to the Nutrition North Canada eligibility list to make these products more accessible and affordable.
- Northern-based compliance and audit review committee
The Government of Canada is establishing a new Northern-based compliance and audit review process in the coming months to improve transparency and accountability, which will ensure Northern Representatives and firms will have the opportunity to participate in the review of audit reports.
This transparency measure will help ensure Northern community representatives have better access to the program's inner working and compliance audit findings.
- Commitment to develop the Harvesters Support Grant
The Government of Canada re-affirmed its commitment to the Harvesters Support Grant.
The 2018 Fall Economic Statement announced an additional $62.6 million investment over five years starting in 2019–20, with $10.4 million ongoing, in the Nutrition North Canada program to support program changes and introduce a Harvesters Support Grant.
In addition to supporting program changes, informed by consultations with Northerners, these significant investments would also introduce a Harvesters Support Grant to help lower the high costs associated with traditional hunting and harvesting activities, which are an important source of healthy, traditional food.
Details of the new grant are being finalized in collaboration with Indigenous partners.
- Government of Canada announces improvements to Nutrition North Canada including support for country food
- Fall Economic Statement 2018: Support to make nutritious food more affordable in isolated northern communities
- "Everyone at the Table!" Minister Bibeau highlights actions for Northern food security through the Food Policy for Canada
- Government of Canada Expands Nutrition North Canada Program to Isolated Communities in the North
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SOURCE Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)
For further information: media may contact: Matthew Dillon-Leitch, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-934-2302, RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca