Nutrition North still stumbling

The Nutrition North Canada Program still isn't working for Old Crow, the only Yukon community it serves, says Darius Elias.

The Nutrition North Canada Program still isn’t working for Old Crow, the only Yukon community it serves, says Darius Elias.

The MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin and interim leader of the territory’s Liberal party says eight months into the program, Old Crow residents are paying more than double for personal food orders shipped to the community.

The main change in the program, besides ditching the moniker Food Mail, was the switch from subsidizing the transportation of food to subsidizing the stores that carry the food, with a focus on more nutritional options, like produce and milk.

For Old Crow, no Whitehorse suppliers stepped up, so the only store in the community, the Northern Store, headquartered in Winnipeg, has to do its best despite the extreme distance.

“Local shoppers are starting to see major price decreases on key nutritious food items,” said a November 22 news release from the company, noting four litres of milk dropped to $12.69 from $15.99.

As well, customers are buying 10 per cent more nutritious food, the release said.

But that isn’t making Elias any happier.

The switch from helping pay for transportation to helping pay for retail is “really having an impact on the family pocketbook,” he said in a news release. “(And it) ignores the reality of how food gets to Old Crow.”

Residents would prefer to shop in Whitehorse, where the variety and shelf-life is much better, than pick through the community store’s shipments from Winnipeg.

But shipping costs to get those Whitehorse orders to Old Crow, inflated with the price of fuel, often offset any potential savings.

“The Government of Canada would not get away with allowing the price of food to double in Whitehorse or Toronto, but it doesn’t seem very concerned that it has happened in Old Crow,” said Elias in his release. “If residents of Whitehorse were only able to shop at one store it would probably get some attention as well.”

Elias intends to bring the issue back into the Yukon legislature when it convenes in December, and he has had a short talk with the territory’s MP Ryan Leef.

“We’re not closing the doors on any suggestions,” said Leef of Elias’ proposal to arrange a unique contract between the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Air North, the airline partially owned by the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation.

“Right now, I’m just compiling all the information and it doesn’t look like there’s any major, major issue with the program itself that we can’t come up with some unique resolution for Old Crow. I’m optimistic that we’re going to come up with something that will work for that community, it’s just going to take the necessary time to work through.”

But for Elias, that’s time wasted.

“My community predicted this would happen and our concerns fell on deaf ears,” he said.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read