Immediate Updates to the Nutrition North Canada and Harvesters Support Grant Programs

Backgrounder

To reflect what was heard during engagement with Northern and Indigenous families, community members and other key stakeholders, the Government of Canada is making the following changes to the Nutrition North Canada as of January 1, 2019 and will invest in a new Harvesters Support Grant starting in 2019-20:

Nutrition North Canada is updating its list of subsidized food and increasing subsidy rates to further reduce the cost of healthy foods. The updated Nutrition North Canada eligibility list reflects what we heard from Northerners during the engagement to include foods that are northern staples, family friendly and nutritious.

A new targeted (highest) subsidy rate is being introduced to further reduce the cost of frozen fruits and vegetables, milk, infant food and infant formula in all eligible communities.  

In addition, all eligible communities will receive at least a $0.15 per kilogram increase in their Higher level subsidy rates.

76 eligible communities that previously received a Lower level subsidy rate under $1.00 per kilogram will have this subsidy rate raised to $1.00 per kilogram.

Nutrition North Canada’s suppliers will offer more than one option for method of payment. Nutrition North Canada is also expanding the list of suppliers available for direct/personal orders, to provide consumers with more choices.

  • Facilitate participation of smaller retailers in the Nutrition North Canada program

Nutrition North Canada is providing financial support to smaller retailers to help them with the costs of meeting reporting requirements, as well as providing financial assistance with point of sale systems for retailers entering the program, so they can show the subsidy on their receipts. This support will make it easier for small retailers, including small family-run businesses, to participate in the program. More participating retailers means more access to healthy, nutritious food for Northerners.

  • Changes to NNC eligibility criteria to ensure that the subsidy benefits only northern residents

Nutrition North Canada is updating its eligibility criteria to ensure that only retailers and suppliers that serve the residents of isolated communities are eligible.

This will allow a greater proportion of program subsidy dollars to flow to establishments that focus on serving Northerners and ensure that the subsidy only goes to the intended program beneficiaries.

  • Responsiveness to changing community realities

Effective immediately, communities that suddenly become completely isolated because of lack of surface transportation (no sealift, road, or rail access) will be eligible for a subsidy that supports an expanded list of food and non-food items to help minimize the price shocks associated with unanticipated changes to community surface access.

All communities’ supply chain systems will be reviewed annually (winter/ice road routes in May each year, and sealift/barge routes in November each year) to assess whether the surface transportation routes were available.

  • Increased funding and the Harvesters Support Grant program

Through the 2018 Fall Economic Statement, the Government proposes to invest an additional $62.6 million over five years starting in 2019–20, with $10.4 million ongoing, in the Nutrition North Canada program. These significant investments will help to support program changes, informed by consultations with Northerners, and includes a new 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.

  • Continued co-development with Indigenous partners

The Government of Canada is proud to announce a Working Group on Food Security, which will focus on, among other items, co-development of the implementation of the Harvesters Support Grant program, with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (“ITK”) and Inuit regions at the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee. Continued engagement and development with Indigenous partners is essential for addressing food security in the North in order to create sustainable, lasting solutions.


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