Nutrition North Canada

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Name of lead department: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

Federal partner organization: Health Canada

Non-federal and non-governmental partners: Not applicable

Start date: April 1, 2011

End date: Ongoing

Total federal funding allocation (start to end date): $301,350,000 over five years

Description: The objective of AANDC's food subsidy program is to make perishable nutritious foods more accessible and affordable than it would otherwise be to residents of isolated northern communities.

Registered retailers in the North, country food processors/distributors located in eligible communities and food suppliers in the South who supply small retailers, institutions and individuals in these isolated communities can apply for a subsidy based on the weight of eligible foods shipped by air to eligible northern communities. These subsidies are to be passed on to northern consumers by appropriate reductions in the selling prices of eligible foods. The terms of the funding arrangements with AANDC's subsidy recipients (northern and southern retailers/wholesalers) are governed by contribution agreements.

Since price is not the only factor that influences consumption, the Program will be supported by targeted Health Canada initiatives that encourage the purchase, preparation and consumption of healthy foods. Funding will flow to communities via contribution agreements with Aboriginal communities/organizations and/or territorial governments.

Shared outcome: By making nutritious foods more accessible and affordable, the Program seeks to increase their consumption and contribute to better overall health of both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations.

The subsidy is expected to help lower the prices of nutritious foods in the North. Lower prices for nutritious foods in combination with complementary nutrition education activities are expected to increase consumption of healthy foods in the short to medium terms. In the longer term, the Program expects that more individuals living in eligible communities will adopt healthier eating patterns that will help lower the rates of chronic and infectious diseases.

Governance structure: The Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board comprises five to seven members who represent the perspectives and interests of northern residents and communities in relation to the management and effectiveness of the Program.

Following the 2013 internal audit and evaluation, a decision was made in April 2014 to replace the Oversight Committee with an ad hoc Director General interdepartmental information-sharing forum. The purpose of this forum is to discuss issues as they arise and provide advice. Members from AANDC, Health Canada, Transport Canada, Privy Council, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Finance participate as needed.

Performance Highlights: After four years of operation, the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) Program is well implemented and on track to achieve the immediate outcomes in line with the NNC Performance Measurement Strategy:

Performance Information
Federal organizations Link to Program Alignment Architectures Contributing programs and activities Total allocation (from start to end date) 2014–2015
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Northern Governance and People Nutrition North $286,850,000 (over 5 years) Planned Spending: $68,370,000
Actual Spending: $67,506,800
Expected Results: In 2014–2015, AANDC will align its actions with the following result:
  • Subsidized food is available in eligible communities.
The Department will accomplish this by:
  • increasing transparency through compliance reviews, enhanced quality assurance, and audit and quarterly reports posted on the Nutrition North Canada website;
  • improving performance measurement and information by implementing appropriate tools and systems to collect and analyze trends;
  • ensuring that the perspectives and interests of northern residents are considered through continuing engagement via social media, the Nutrition North Canada website and the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board public meetings; and
  • completing a comprehensive study of northern retailing to obtain feedback from northern customers, communities and retailers to further inform Program policies.
Actual results against targetsa: Subsidized food is available in eligible communities; measured as follows:
  • Weight of eligible food shipped per capita increases annually: 316 kilograms per capita of eligible foods were shipped to fully eligible communities. This represents a 3.5% increase over the weight of the same food shipped in 2013–2014.
  • Nutrition North Canada food basket price trends are comparable to food price trends for the rest of Canada: for the period 2011–2015, NNC food basket price for fully eligible communities: −5.0% (the Canada Consumer Price Index basket for food: +9.9%).
Health Canada First Nations and Inuit Primary Health Care Nutrition North Canada — Nutrition Education Initiatives $14,500,000 from 2011–2012 to 2015–2016, and $2,900,000 ongoing Planned Spending: $2,900,000
Actual Spending: $2,713,804
Expected Results:
In 2014–2015, Health Canada will align its actions with the following expected result:
  • Residents in eligible communities have knowledge of healthy eating and skills to choose and prepare nutritious foods.
The Department will accomplish this by:
  • serving 72 communities with Nutrition North Canada nutrition education initiatives; and
  • supporting 1,200 Nutrition North Canada nutrition education activities at the community level.
This information will be collected through the NNC annual reporting template for the nutrition education initiatives.
Actual results against targetsa:
Health Canada achieved the following:
  • 72 communities received support for Nutrition North Canada nutrition education initiatives.
  • Approximately 1,200 Nutrition North Canada nutrition education activities were delivered, such as: the promotion of healthy food knowledge and skills among children, youth and adults in school and community settings; in-store taste tests and grocery store tours; traditional food harvesting and preparation; and partnerships and collaboration with other community programs.
  • Outcomes observed by Nutrition North Canada community workers include increased:
    • awareness of healthy foods;
    • interest in healthy eating and cooking; fresh produce purchases;
    • number of children cooking for their families; and
    • demand for certain activities (e.g. community kitchens).
Total for all federal organizations $301,350,000 Total planned spending: $71,270,000
Total actual spending: $70,220,604
a Performance indicators are defined in the Performance Measurement Strategies and/or Performance Measurement Frameworks of each federal partner.

Comments on variances:

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
The $11.3 million variance between planned and actual spending for the 2014–2015 period is attributed to growth in demand for subsidized food.

Health Canada
The variance is due to efficiencies achieved from the sharing of program-delivery costs, such as teleconference and/or video conference discussions, coordinating travel to communities, and offering joint training sessions to support multiple programs.

Results achieved by non-federal partners (if applicable): The Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board held three face-to-face meetings in 2014–2015, two of which included public sessions in northern communities (Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit).

Contact Information:

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Diane Robinson
Director, Nutrition North Canada
Northern Affairs Organization
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Telephone: 819-934-3171
Diane.Robinson@aadnc-aandc.gc.c

Health Canada
Halina Cyr
Director, Population Health and Primary Care Directorate
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
Health Canada
Telephone: 613-948-6412
Halina.cyr@hc-sc.gc.ca

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