PACP Committee News Release
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Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Comité permanent des comptes publics
For immediate release
IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED TO ENSURE THAT HEALTHY FOODS ARE ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE FOR NORTHERNERS
Ottawa, May 6, 2015 -
OTTAWA – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) needs to review its community eligibility criteria and to ensure that the full subsidy of the Nutrition North Canada program is passed on to consumers in order to meet its objective of making healthy foods more accessible and affordable for Northerners, according to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts’ report presented today in the House of Commons by Committee Chair David Christopherson.
Canadians in northern communities face higher food prices, making it more difficult to afford a nutritious diet. To help with the high cost of food in the North, AANDC manages the Nutrition North Canada program, which provides subsidies to retailers for eligible foods shipped to eligible communities. Retailers are responsible for passing the subsidy on to consumers.
In its Fall 2014 Report, the Office of the Auditor General released a performance audit that examined whether AANDC managed the Nutrition North Canada program to meet its objective of making healthy foods more accessible and affordable to residents of isolated northern communities, and to obtain the information required to demonstrate that the full subsidy was being passed on to consumers.
The Office of the Auditor General concluded that AANDC had not managed the program to meet its objective of making healthy foods more accessible to residents of northern communities because it had not based community eligibility on need. AANDC also had not met its objective of making healthy food more affordable because it had not defined affordability, nor had it verified that retailers were passing on the full subsidy to consumers.
In its report, the Committee recommends that AANDC report to the Committee on AANDC’s review of the criteria for community eligibility, on the extent to which compliance reviews were able to determine that the full subsidy was passed on to consumers, and on AANDC’s engagement strategy for modifications to the program. The Committee expects that AANDC will continue to make improvements to the Nutrition North Canada program in order to ensure that residents of northern communities have access to affordable healthy foods.
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