July 30, 2013

OTTAWA – Canada’s Auditor General has agreed to conduct a Performance Audit on the controversial Nutrition North Program, according to a letter written by the AG to six NDP Members of Parliament. The MPs had written the Auditor General in June formally requesting this action.

“Properly functioning food support programs are essential for our isolated communities. The crisis in the cost of living in the north is especially difficult in places that rely on airfreight for their supplies,” said NDP MP Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic). “But we can make a difference in Ottawa if all northerners join together and speak up.” 

The Nutrition North Program was put in place by the Conservative government to replace the old Food Mail program. It is intended to subsidize food prices for Canada’s isolated northern communities. Despite the new program however, food security across the North remains a critical issue, with exorbitant prices impacting families and affordability.

In the past 6 months, there have been unanimous motions passed in the three northern Territories’ legislatures asking for this type of examination. Their call was supported by New Democrat MPs, who helped bring the request to the attention of the Auditor General Michael Ferguson. In his letter, Ferguson said the performance audit report will likely be released as part of the 2014 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada.

“We thank Mr. Ferguson for recognizing the need to investigate the Nutrition North Program,” said Bevington. “We have a responsibility to ensure that programs designed for the North are adequately servicing its people.”