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Canadian Tire Corporation has pulled locally produced hand sanitizer by 62 Degrees North from Yellowknife store shelves.

The move followed inquiries to Canadian Tire corporate from NNSL Media about the store selling sanitizer at a higher cost than competitor Shoppers’ Drugmart. Earlier this month, Canadian Tire was selling its 233 ml product at $13.98, while Shoppers’ sold its 237 ml sanitizer bottles for $9.99. 62 Degrees North makes both products.

Cathy Kurzbock, Canadian Tire Corporate spokesperson, said the store’s price was suggested by 62 Degrees North.

Hand sanitizer seen at a Canadian Tire check-out earlier this month.
Nick Pearce/NNSL photo

“This particular brand of hand sanitizer is not carried across our network of stores. It was independently sourced and sold by the Associate Dealer,” she wrote in a statement April 15.

At the time, the store didn’t have sanitizer available, which led the store “to support a local business and meet the needs of customers,” she wrote.

“The selling price was suggested by the manufacturer, however, this product did not comply with our corporate sales protocol and has since been removed from the store and is no longer being sold.”

She further noted the local store’s dealer was an active member of the community who “donated surgical masks to the Stanton Territorial Hospital and funds to community organizations such as the Salvation Army, YWCA, Avens Seniors Home and the local school board.”

Kurzbock did not elaborate on what corporate protocols were broken.

Matt Vincent, president and CEO of 62 Degrees North, wasn’t aware the product at Canadian Tire was pulled. He said pricing the bottles’ is up to the vendors and varying prices are common between stores.

Differences in containers don’t have a significant impact on price if they’re the same size, he added.

When called about available stock on April 21, the Yellowknife Canadian Tire store didn’t have any hand sanitizer available for customers. 

This follows increased demand for sanitizers and other protective supplies that Yellowknife businesses reported have been lacking in the past month as residents grapple with the pandemic. 62 Degrees North sanitizer continues to be sold at other outlets. 

Health Canada has approved the 62 Degrees North sanitizer for general use, according to Charlotte Digness, a spokesperson for GNWT cabinet.

 “The (Chief Public Health Officer) as part of the powers granted to her under a public health emergency can authorize people or companies to help reduce the risk to the public health, and can procure and provide for the distribution of medical equipment throughout the NWT,” she wrote.

She offered an example of the officer authorizing Taiga Labs to provide hand sanitizer for clinical use. 

“62 Degrees North has not been authorized for clinical use by the Chief Public Health Officer, but their product is forming a vital part of our local, general-use supply,” she wrote.

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Nick Pearce

Nick Pearce is a writer and reporter in Yellowknife, looking for unique stories on the environment and people that make up the North. He's a graduate of Queen's University, where he studied Global Development...

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  1. 4 dollars is not price gouging, there’s something called supply and demand, and people should have been happy that this particular Canadian Tire was able to source and supply hand sanitizer at all, nevermind supporting a local businesses during a time of crisis.
    I guess everyone can now be happy the product has been pulled and everyone can go without.

  2. Hi David, we have no knowledge of anyone complaining to corporate headquarters. We did receive a tip from an anonymous caller who pointed out what some might consider a large price difference between the two similarly-sized products. In announcing a state of emergency March 27, MACA’s manager of emergency preparedness said that it was enacted, in part, to guard against price gouging on essential items. Hand sanitizer would certainly be one. We’re not accusing Canadian Tire of price gouging but a four dollar difference is a large amount to some people and certainly worth an inquiry. We can’t say whether our inquiry is the catalyst for Canadian Tire corporate’s decision to drop the locally-made product. If that’s the case then that’s regrettable but we felt important to explain what led to our story about the product being pulled, which was our question about the price difference. And the answer we got back was that corporate was pulling 62 Degrees North’s product. As far we know, the decision to pull the product had nothing to do with the local owner. We’ll add from our experience, the local owner is a good corporate citizen and has done much for the community as you say, but when a reader calls us and points out an issue, we try to follow up on it, which is what we did and why we did the story.

  3. I wonder if your news service will come clean and let the public know it was one of their staff who complained to corporate and caused the removal of this product. Different businesses have different overhead costs and price according to their needs and expected sales. Some can afford to sell it cheaper than others. I find it appalling that after all the owners have done for the community since their arrival in Yellowknife, one of your people would try to undermine all the good they have done. This is why I do not purchase your newspaper. Zero professionalism or accountability.