Ottawa, ON —The community of Churchill, Manitoba, will be temporarily added to the Nutrition North Canada program following indefinite suspension of rail service following severe flooding, which is having a major impact on the residents.
To support their immediate needs for more affordable access to perishable nutritious foods, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett announced that the Government of Canada is temporarily adding Churchill, Manitoba to its list of eligible communities for the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program.
This temporary addition to the NNC program, complements the Government of Manitoba’s Affordable Food in Remote Manitoba (AAFIRM) food subsidy program, and will help lower the cost of perishable, nutritious food for the residents of Churchill until the rail line is operational.
“While we continue to work across government to address the situation in Churchill, extending the Nutrition North Canada program to the community will help off-set the rising cost of bringing in food,” said Bennett. “All Canadians deserve access to healthy food — which is why we are committed to enhancing the Nutrition North Canada program to help isolated northern communities.”
Due to severe flooding and washout conditions, railroad service on the Hudson Bay Railway from Amery (46 kilometres of rail north east of Gillam, Manitoba) to Churchill has been suspended. Churchill is now a temporarily isolated community, without year-round surface (road, rail, marine) access.
Churchill will be eligible for the NNC subsidy on perishable items not covered by the Government of Manitoba’s AAFIRM food subsidy program, which already subsidizes milk, fruits and vegetables. The subsidy rate for eligible level 1 items will be $1.60/kg.
An expanded list of non-perishable, non-food items such as diapers, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. will also be included at a Level 2 subsidy rate of $1.00/kg until the arrival of the second sealift in October, after which it will be $0.05/kg.
NNC is a Government of Canada subsidy program that works with stores across the North and food suppliers in southern Canada to help make perishable, nutritious food more affordable and more accessible.
In October 2016, NNC was expanded to include all isolated northern communities. This was part of the Budget 2016 commitment to provide an additional $64.5 million over five years, with $13.8 million per year allocated to expanding the program to support all Northern isolated communities.