AAND official defends Nutrition North Canada
(Editor’s note: This is letter is in response to a commentary by Fred Hill and Michael Fitzgerald published March 4.)
During the Food Mail Program review, northerners asked for a change that would give rise to a food subsidy program with greater transparency and accountability – Nutrition North Canada has done just that.
Nutrition North Canada is designed to ensure that appropriate accountability measures are respected. NNC has formal agreements with retailers and suppliers, collects detailed data every month, has claims verified by an independent third party, and continues to monitor and report on Revised Northern Food Basket prices in every eligible community.
Compliance reviews of retailers and suppliers confirm that these measures are working and that the subsidy is being passed on.
Even though food has risen 2 per cent on average, the cost of the Revised Northern Food Basket for full subsidy communities dropped 8 per cent between March 2011 and March 2012.
NNC is more comprehensive and efficient than Food Mail. In terms of supporting access to more affordable foods, instead of having the post office deliver food, NNC works directly with food retailers and suppliers.
The retailers and suppliers then determine, on the basis of competition and market forces, the most cost-efficient way to transport healthy food to the North.
AANDC continues to work with all partners to ensure NNC meets its objectives and obligations, and community nutrition programs are now running in every region that NNC serves.
Stephen Van Dine
Director General, Devolution and Territorial Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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