Nutrition North subsidy rises for non-perishable goods

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The often criticized Nutrition North program has added an additional $1 per kilogram subsidy for non-perishable goods such as macaroni, flour, butter and diapers transported by sealift.

That means a 10-kilogram bag of flour will cost Nunavummiut $10 less, a government spokesperson said.

The changes are effectively immediately, but sealift deliveries that have already taken place are exempt.

Another development is that feminine hygiene products will be subsidized year round at the highest level.

As well, a new Northern-based compliance review committee will be established in the coming months as a transparency measure for Nutrition North.

The government estimates it will spend $3 million annually to implement these new measures.

Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs, made a Nutrition North announcement in Cambridge Bay on Wednesday.
photo courtesy of the Government of Canada

Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs, made the announcement in Cambridge Bay on Wednesday.

Last December, the federal government revealed other increases to the subsidy rates and increased the foods eligible for greater subsidies. Yet Family Services Minister Elisapee Sheutiapik expressed, at the time, a longstanding concern that many Nunavummiut have often repeated: “We’ve been saying all along it’s the retailers benefitting the most.”

Attesting to the past failings of Nutrition North, the Canadian Medical Association found that food insecurity in Nunavut’s 10 largest communities rose by 13.5 per cent during the transition to Nutrition North.

The federal government is still developing a harvesters’ support program, which is expected to be in place during the winter of 2019-2020, a federal spokesperson said Wednesday.

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