Is the Nutrition North Canada retail subsidy program meeting the goal of making nutritious and perishable food more accessible and affordable in the North?

Tracey Galloway


The Nutrition North Canada program is a federal retail subsidy designed to make nutritious, perishable food more widely available and affordable in northern communities. Implemented in April 2011, Nutrition North replaced the Food Mail freight subsidy long used to offset the high cost of transporting perishable food to remote towns and villages lacking year-round road access. An examination of program and government reporting to date reveals little evidence that Nutrition North is meeting its goal of improving the availability and affordability of nutritious food. The fiscal reporting and food costing tools used by the program are insufficiently detailed to evaluate the accuracy of community subsidy rates and the degree to which retailers are passing on the subsidy to consumers. Action is needed to modify the program reporting structure to achieve greater accountability among retailers, and lower and more consistent food pricing across northern communities.


Food; nutrition policy; food supply; public health; Canada; Arctic regions

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