In order to provide more Canadians improved access to more affordable, nutritious food, the Government of Canada has introduced several new initiatives and made improvements to the management and delivery of existing programs.
The redesign of the subsidy program for healthy foods shipped to the North includes a new approach for managerial oversight and public participation to ensure that northern residents and communities will benefit fully from the new program. A significant improvement in governance of the program is the establishment of an External Advisory Board that will provide information and advice to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to help guide the management, direction, and activities of the program.
The new Board will assist the Minister by providing strategic advice from the standpoint of northern communities, taking into account the information and views provided by researchers, stakeholders, and experts in the transportation and distribution of healthy food in Canada's North. Specifically, the new Board will:
The Board will be comprised of five to seven members, including a Chair and Vice Chair, all appointed by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. These persons will collectively represent a wide range of the primary perspectives and interests of northern residents and communities.
The members will serve in their own right, not as representatives of any particular organization, area or special interest. They will be chosen on the basis of their merit and standing in the community as individuals.
Board members will be appointed for a three-year term that could be renewed on a yearly basis after the initial three years.
Board members will serve on a voluntary basis, but be reimbursed by INAC for expenses actually incurred and directly related to their duties as Board members.
The Board will operate with funding levels, support staff and secretariat services assigned by INAC.
The Board will establish its work plan and schedules on an annual basis. This work plan may be supplemented by requests by the Minister for the Board to provide information and advice on specific program matters. The Board members will meet on a scheduled basis three times each year.
The Chair (and members if possible) will meet with the Minister at least on an annual basis, and with senior departmental officials on a regular basis, to explain the Board's perspectives, findings and advice.
The Board will provide a concise annual report to the Minister, as well as reports and recommendations from time to time as the Board deems appropriate.
The Board will work closely with stakeholders, community representatives and interested parties who could provide information, data, insights and points of view that could contribute constructively to the Board's work.