Nutrition North Canada

General information

Lead department: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Federal partner organization: Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of CanadaFootnote 1

Non-federal and non-governmental partners: Not applicable

Start date: April 1, 2011

End date: Ongoing

Total federal funding allocated (start to end date): $459,429,004

Total federal planned spending to date (dollars): $436,458,004

Total federal actual spending to date (dollars): $420,579,848

Funding contributed by non-federal and non-governmental partners: Nil

Governance structures: The Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board gives Northerners a direct voice in the Program. The Board provides information and advice to the Minister of INAC Canada to help guide the direction and activities of the Program, and to ensure that northern residents receive its full benefits. Members of the Board collectively represent the perspectives and interests of northern residents and communities in relation to the management and effectiveness of the Program. Members serve in their own right, as volunteers and not as representatives of any particular organization, area or special interest. Members are appointed for a three-year term.

Description: The objective of the Nutrition North Canada Program is to help make perishable, nutritious food more accessible and affordable than it otherwise would be to residents of eligible isolated northern communities without year-round surface (road, rail or marine) access.

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 eligible 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 Nutrition North Canada Program — National Manual governs the terms of the funding agreements with INAC's subsidy recipients (northern and southern retailers/wholesalers).

Since price is not the only factor that influences nutritious choices, the Program is also supported by targeted initiatives supported by Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada that encourage the purchase, preparation and consumption of healthy foods. Funding flows to communities via contribution agreements with Indigenous communities and organizations, and/or territorial governments.

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation: An evaluation of Nutrition North Canada will be conducted in 2017–2018.

Shared outcome of federal partners: The ultimate outcome of the Program is to strengthen the nutritional choices and overall health of isolated northern communities through the food subsidy delivered by INAC and the targeted nutrition education initiatives delivered by Health Canada.

Expected outcome or result of non-federal and non-governmental partners: Not applicable

Performance highlights: In 2016-2017, INAC continued to help address food insecurity in the North by supporting access to perishable, nutritious foods in Canada's isolated northern communities through reduced prices in stores. Budget 2016 provided an additional $64.5 million to the Nutrition North Canada program over five years, beginning in 2016-2017 and $13.8 million per year ongoing starting in 2021 to support program expansion. Effective October 1, 2016, 37 new communities were eligible to receive the full benefits of the program, including the INAC food subsidy and the Nutrition Education Initiatives supported by Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

On May 30, 2016, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the Minister of Health announced a public engagement process with Northerners to gather ideas on how to update the program and keep it on a sustainable path. Between May and December 2016, community visits, key stakeholder interviews, and a survey were conducted, and written submissions were also received. The resulting What We Heard Report has provided the direction required to advance program updates.

The Department also shared program information with the public by posting compliance reviews, shipping data and price reports on the program website, and engaged Northern communities through social media and the program's Advisory Board. To advance its transparency and accountability, and further support the 2016 engagement exercise, the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board held public meetings in Old Crow, Yukon in May 2016 and in Fort Hope and Big Trout Lake, Ontario in November 2016.

Performance information

Federal organizations Link to the Department's PAA Contributing programs and activities Total allocation (from start to end date) 2016–2017 Planned spending (dollars) 2016–2017 Actual spending (dollars)
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Program 4.1: Northern Governance and People, Sub-Program 4.1.2: Nutrition North Nutrition North $417,209,804a $74,414,396 $71,871,143
Health Canada First Nations and Inuit Primary Health Care (PAA 3.1.1.3 First Nations and Inuit Healthy Living) Nutrition North Canada Nutrition Education Initiatives $36,266,000 (2011–2012 to 2020–2021); $4,363,200 (ongoing)b $4,343,200b $3,347,385
Public Health Agency of Canada Program 1.2 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and sub-sub-program 1.2.2.1 Healthy Child Development Nutrition North Canada Nutrition Education Initiatives $405,000 (2016–2017);
$405,000 (2017–2018);
$395,000 (2018–2019);
$385,000 (2019–2020 and ongoing)
$405,000 $63,181
Total for all federal organizations $459,429,004 $79,162,596 $75,281,709
a Includes funding received in Supplementary Estimates in 2016-2017.
b The total allocation (from start to end date) and the 2016–2017 planned spending differ from the amounts previously reported in the 2016–2017 Report on Plans and Priorities due to additional resources received in-year.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
2016–2017 Expected results 2016–2017 Performance indicators 2016–2017 Targets 2016–2017 Actual resultsa Data source and frequency of monitoring and reporting
Affordability of perishable, nutritious food in eligible communities is strengthened. (PAA 4.1) Annual trend of the Revised Northern Food Basket At or below the annual trend (increase/decrease) for the Consumer Price Index basket for food by March 31, 2017 Between March 2016 and March 2017, the Revised Northern Food Basked index decreased slightly by 0.12%, compared to a decrease of 2.8% from April 2016 to March 2017 for the basket of "food purchased from stores" reported by Statistics Canada using their Consumer Price Index, suggesting the program continues to have an impact on the affordability of perishable, nutritious good in these communities. Source: Nutrition North Canada Database; Consumer Price Index
Frequency: Annually
Residents in eligible communities have access to nutritious perishable food at a subsidized rate. (PAA 4.1.2) Percentage of compliance/audit reports demonstrating that subsidies have been fully passed on to consumers 100% by March 31, 2017 100%
Two Compliance reviews were completed during 2016–2017, due to unexpected issues by external service providers. Additional reviews are being planned for 2017–2018 to ensure that requirements are being met. The reviews conducted demonstrated that the savings were being passed on to consumers.
Source: Compliance reviews of randomly selected retailers, in a given fiscal year, including current profit margins and profit margins over time
Frequency: Annually
Percentage implementation of the new requirement for major northern retailers to show subsidy saving at the till receipt 100% by March 31, 2017 100%
Major retailers have implemented the requirements to show the total savings through the program are being passed on to consumers.
Source: Nutrition north Canada Database; Compliance Reviews
Frequency: Annually
Annual percentage variation in the quantity of subsidized items shipped by air 3 to 5% by March 31, 2017 5.3%
Increasing quantity shipped highlights the increasing demand for program resources for 121 communities.
Source: Database with claims and itemized shipment reports; Nutrition North Canada Database
Frequency: Quarterly
a Performance indicators are defined in the Performance Measurement Strategies and/or Performance Measurement Frameworks of each federal partner.
Health Canada
2016–2017 Expected results 2016–2017 Performance indicators 2016–2017 Targets 2016–2017 Actual resultsa Data source and frequency of monitoring and reporting
Residents in eligible communities have knowledge of healthy eating and skills and are choosing and preparing healthy foods. Percentage of funding recipients reporting knowledge of healthy eating and skills among residents in eligible communities Target for knowledge and skills will be established after first data collection in 2016–2017 Statistical information for this target was not available at the time of reporting (new indicator created in 2016–2017); however, based on data reported for Expected Result 2 it is expected that knowledge of healthy eating and skills among residents in eligible communities increased. Source: Annual reporting tool
Frequency: Annually
Residents in eligible communities have access to retail and community based nutrition education initiatives. Number of communities promoting nutrition education activities 100% of funding recipients are promoting and offering nutrition education activities by March 31, 2017 In 2016–2017, 98.7% of funding recipients, representing 77 of 78 eligible communities received funding support for Nutrition North Canada Nutrition Education Initiatives.b Source: Annual reporting tool
Frequency: Departmental Results Report, annually
Number and types of activities (by target population groups, venues) Funding recipients provide activities to 2 or more target populations (e.g., women, seniors, children, and youth) in 2 or more venues (e.g., grocery stores, schools, on the land) In 2016–2017, more than 2,000 Nutrition North Canada nutrition education activities were delivered such as: promotion of healthy food knowledge; food skills development; in-store taste tests and grocery store tours; and traditional food harvesting and preparation. The majority of communities offered nutrition education activities to at least 2 target populations (e.g., children, youth, men, women and seniors) and in at least 2 venues (e.g. schools, daycares, stores, community centres and on the land).b Source: Annual reporting tool
Frequency: Departmental Results Report, annually
a Performance indicators are defined in the Performance Measurement Strategies and/or Performance Measurement Frameworks of each federal partner.
b In Fall 2016, an additional 33 communities became eligible for Nutrition North Canada; statistical information for these new communities was not available at the time of reporting.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada became a new federal partner organization in 2016-2017. As such, targets, data sources, and the frequency of data collection will be established in 2017-2018. Subsequently, actual results will be determined against established targets in 2017-2018.

Comments on variances

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
The difference between planned spending and actual spending primarily reflects new funding approved for the program during the fiscal year.

Health Canada
The variance between planned and actual spending is mainly due to in-year resources received late in the year to enhance and expand the Nutrition North Canada Program.

Public Health Agency of Canada
As a new program for the Public Health Agency of Canada it was necessary to develop and implement a funding solicitation process as well as identify new funding recipients who, in turn, required time to develop and refine their proposed budgets and work plan.

Contact information

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