Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories is now eligible for Nutrition North Canada’s retail subsidy program on a seasonal basis

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OTTAWA (ON), April 5, 2022 /CNW/ – All Canadians deserve access to healthy, affordable food, no matter where they live. Many northern and arctic communities become inaccessible by road or water during seasonal freeze-up and ice break-up, resulting in increased shipping costs for food and other essentials.

Today, the Honorable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Michael McLeoddeputy of Northwest Territoriesannounced that the community of Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories is now seasonally eligible for the Nutrition North retail subsidy.

Nutrition Canadian North is a federal program that provides a retail subsidy on perishable food and other essential items to residents of 122 isolated and northern communities. The program works collaboratively with provincial, territorial, Indigenous and program partners to address food insecurity and ensure access to essential items in northern and remote communities.

The inclusion of Fort Simpson supports efforts to strengthen food security, as residents will have better access to affordable food and essential items during times of isolation. The community is currently experiencing periods of isolation during the spring thaw and fall freeze seasons, where food must be flown into the community at high cost. Residents will now be able to purchase subsidized food from registered northern retailers in the community during these times.

In response to the pandemic, the government acted urgently to provide a $25 million to Nutrition North Canada, to increase subsidy rates on nutritious foods and essential items. The program has also expanded the list of nutritious foods and subsidized essential items to include cleaning supplies. In addition, Budget 2021 invests $163.4 million over three years to expand the Nutrition North Canada program and enable the Minister of Northern Affairs to work directly with Indigenous partners to address food insecurity.

Quote

“Our government is working with Indigenous and northern partners to make food and essential items more accessible and affordable and to better understand their food security concerns. Fort Simpson to the retail subsidy program means that residents can access perishable food and other important items they need at an affordable price during times of isolation, when it is more difficult to get them into the community. By listening to community residents, we continue to find ways to improve the program so that it aligns with the unique needs of northerners. »

The Honorable Daniel Vandal, PC, MP
Minister of Northern Affairs

“With the inclusion of Fort Simpson Through Nutrition North’s retail subsidy program, our government is helping to make life more affordable and everyday goods more accessible to village residents. »

Michael McLeoddeputy of Northwest Territories

“I am grateful to Minister Vandal and his staff at Nutrition North Canada for working to Fort Simpson/Liidlii Kue included in the program. This will help keep essential food supplies more affordable, not only for all Fort Simpson/Residents of Liidlii Kue but also for the surrounding communities who use Fort Simpson for their purchasing needs.

His Worship Sean Whelly, Mayor of Fort Simpson

Fast facts

  • Nutrition Canadian North is a government of Canada program that helps make nutritious foods and certain essentials more affordable and accessible.
  • The program works directly with Indigenous and northern partners to understand and address their food security priorities. Nutrition Canadian North supports eligible northern communities in three ways:
    • Nutrition Canadian North retail subsidy: By subsidizing a list of perishable food and essential items transported by air, and non-perishable food and essential items transported by seasonal sea, barge or winter road.
    • Fisher Support Grant: Increasing Northerners’ access to country foods by supporting hunting, harvesting and food sharing.
    • Nutrition Education Initiatives: By providing community-based nutrition education activities and building on existing activities to increase access to healthy foods (led by Indigenous Services Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada).
  • There are 122 isolated northern communities that benefit from Nutrition North Canada’s retail subsidy program. These towns are located in yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Labrador.
  • Of these 122 communities, 108 are also eligible for the Fishermen’s Support Grant. This grant provides funding to Indigenous governments and organizations to support hunting, harvesting and food sharing in isolated communities.
  • Isolation is a fundamental criterion for determining a community’s eligibility for the Nutrition North Canada program. As northerners are well aware, the effects of isolation are often exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. The list of communities eligible for Nutrition North Canada is reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis. Ministry officials regularly contact communities to discuss the many variables that impact their respective periods of isolation.
  • To be eligible for the Nutrition North Canada retail subsidy, a community must be considered isolated and meet the following requirements:
    • have no year-round surface transportation (no permanent access by road, rail, or sea), except for isolation caused by freeze-up and break-up which normally lasts longer than four weeks in a row
    • meet the territorial or provincial definition of “northern community”
    • have an airport, post office or grocery store
    • have a year-round population according to the national census.
  • The government of Canada periodically reviews the community’s eligibility criteria. In 2016, Nutrition North Canada expanded to 37 additional communities across from Canada North.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, Nutrition North Canada has been in regular contact with its Indigenous and northern partners to understand and address their immediate and long-term food security concerns. Regular discussions are also underway with territorial and provincial governments and other federal departments on collaborative solutions to support continued food security.
  • At April 14, 2020In response to critical priorities identified by territorial governments to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced additional supports to address the immediate health, economic and transportation needs of northerners.
  • This included a one-time financial injection of $25 million to Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidy rates in all eligible communities. The high level of subsidies has been increased by 50 cents/kg, and the average subsidy level was increased by $1/kg. In addition, the list of nutritious foods and essential items that are subsidized under Nutrition North Canada has been expanded to include cleaning products.

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SOURCE Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

For further information: For further information, media may contact: Kyle Allen, Press Secretary, Office of the Honorable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, 819-953-1153; Media Relations, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-934-2302, [email protected]

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