Audit at a Glance—Nutrition North Canada—Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
(Chapter 6—Fall 2014 Report of the Auditor General of Canada)
In our audit of the Nutrition North Canada Program, we found that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has not done enough to meet the objective of making healthy foods more accessible and affordable to residents of isolated northern communities.
Food costs are significantly higher in the North.
It costs on average twice as much to feed a household in Nunavut as it does elsewhere in Canada.
One of the problems we found is that the Nutrition North Program does not identify eligible communities on the basis of need. For example, there are two communities in Northern Ontario that are about 20 kilometers apart and are similarly isolated. One is eligible for a full subsidy of $1.60 per kilogram of food, while the other is eligible only for a partial subsidy of 0.05 cents per kilogram.
We also found that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has not done the work necessary to verify that northern retailers are passing on to consumers the full government subsidy on eligible foods.
If the Department was able to verify that this was the case, some of the public skepticism surrounding the Nutrition North Program could be lessened. This would benefit the Department, northern retailers and the residents of Canada’s northern territories.