Additional funds will improve access to healthy food in eligible communities
IQALUIT, Nov. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - Mark Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chiliwack-Fraser Canyon and Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced additional funding that will continue to improve access to healthy food in Northern communities.
Ensuring access to healthy, perishable foods is essential in building strong communities in Canada's North. The Government will therefore make additional investments in the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program. Enhanced funding, which fulfils a commitment made by Economic Action Plan 2014, will better serve eligible communities, support the program's activities and ensure its long term sustainability as the consumption of nutritious food continues to grow.
Today's announcement includes an increase of $11.3 million dollars to the Nutrition North subsidy budget in 2014-15, as well as a new 5% annual compound escalator for the subsidy budget component in future years, that will help the NNC program keep pace with the growing rate of demand for perishable, nutritious food. In total, during this year and next year, the Government of Canada will invest $133.7 million in direct subsidies for nutritious foods for Northerners.
In the coming months, the Government of Canada and the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board will be engaging Northerners, retailers and suppliers on ideas to keep the program on a sustainable path. This process will help continue to improve this new and growing program.
- The cost of the Revised Northern Food Basket for a family of four has dropped on average by 5.6%, or approximately $110 per month, between March 2011 and March 2013. According to Statistics Canada, food prices elsewhere in Canada increased by approximately 4% during the same time period.
- The average annual volume of healthy food being shipped to northern remote communities has increased by approximately 25% during the first three years of the program.
- NNC is designed to help retailers and food suppliers improve the quality of and access to healthy food in eligible Northern communities. NNC was introduced in 2011 to address the challenges families in isolated northern communities were facing to access nutritious quality food.
- This new funding will help the program to better serve 103 eligible communities as it will be used directly for food subsidies.
"Northerners, like all Canadians should have access to the fresh, nutritious foods they need to be able to contribute and be prosperous in a growing northern economy. Today's announcement is a clear demonstration of our Government's continued commitment to increasing access to healthy perishable foods in remote Northern communities."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"Since our Government announced this program in 2011, the volume of healthy food being shipped to Northern remote communities has increased by 25%. Today's funding will help increase access to healthy foods further and will benefit Northern communities and families. As we move forward I will continue to advocate for improvement to the Nutrition North program so that communities can continue to have access to healthy foods."
Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council
"Healthy people and healthy communities are the backbone of a strong Canada. Today's renewed investment will help ensure Northerners have a wide selection of good foods and can benefit from a healthy diet for themselves, their families and their communities.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"The Nutrition North Advisory Board has listened to people directly and through media sources. We have worked diligently to assess information and recommend actions to the Minister which is why we are pleased that today's announcement will contribute to the betterment of the program and will help it flourish and ensure people from all walks of life continue to have reasonable priced fresh foods available for individuals and families. We also see our time as being well spent and productive to this very important program for Northerners."
Chair, Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board
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SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information: Erica Meekes, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160