The National Post carries Bob Weber’s article in The Canadian Press describing how a Canadian government program intended to make healthy food more affordable in the North has not worked at all.
A researcher has found that a federal subsidy intended to reduce astronomical food prices for northern families has resulted in stale-dated, unreliable food on store shelves without making grocery bills more affordable.
Tracey Galloway of the University of Toronto, whose findings are to be published in a scientific journal later this month, says the Nutrition North program should be reformed with mandatory price caps on essential food.
“Without price caps and regulatory framework for pricing, the retailers have arbitrary control on how they set prices,” she said from Iqaluit, where she was presenting her results. “We have not seen prices come down over the course of this subsidy.”
Food in the North costs between two and three times what it does in the south. Grapes were recently selling in Nunavut for more than $28 a kilogram.
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Nutrition North is a $77-million program that, since it replaced the Food Mail initiative in 2011, has sought to reduce costs by subsidizing shipping to 121 communities in the three territories and the northern regions of the provinces. The federal government is reviewing the program and has held public meetings across the North.