Nutrition North Canada

Lead department: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)

Federal partner organizations: Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). PHAC became a new partner in 2016–17.

Non-federal and non-governmental partner(s): Not applicable

Start date: April 1, 2011

End date: Ongoing

Description of the horizontal initiative: The objective of Nutrition North Canada (NNC) is to help make perishable, nutritious food more accessible and more 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 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 NNC program — National Manual governs the terms of the funding agreements with CIRNAC's subsidy recipients.

Given that there are a number of factors that influence healthy eating patterns other than food cost, ISC and PHAC complement the NNC retail subsidy by providing funding to support culturally-appropriate retail and community-based nutrition education initiatives. These initiatives aim to increase knowledge of healthy eating and develop skills for the selection and preparation of healthy store-bought and traditional or country foods.

Governance structures: The NNC Advisory Board gives Northerners a direct voice in the Program. The Board provides information and advice to the Minister of CIRNAC 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 to a 3-year term.

Total federal funding allocated (start to end date) (dollars):

CIRNAC: $581,082,763 (2011–12 to 2018–19)
ISC: $14,500,000 (2011–12 to 2015–16), $21,766,000 (2016–17 to 2020–21) and $4,363,200 (ongoing)
PHAC: $1,975,000 (2016–17 to 2020–21) and $385,000 (ongoing)
Total: $624,071,963

Total federal planned spending to date (dollars):

CIRNAC: $549,444,860
ISC: $29,067,261
PHAC: $1,071,000Endnote 1
Total: $579,583,121

Total federal actual spending to date (dollars):

CIRNAC: $483,095,999
ISC: $26,053,344
PHAC: $964,947
Total: $510,114,290

Date of last renewal of the horizontal initiative: September 29, 2016

Total federal funding allocated at the last renewal and source of funding (dollars):

CIRNAC: $54,795,969, Fiscal Framework (Budget 2016)
ISC: $7,266,000 over 5 years and $1,463,200 ongoing in addition to the $2,900,000 ongoing from the previous renewal (Budget 2016)
PHAC: $1,975,000 (Budget 2016)

Additional federal funding received after the last renewal (dollars): Not applicable

Funding contributed by non-federal and non-governmental partners (dollars): Not applicable

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation:

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 CIRNAC and the targeted nutrition education initiatives delivered by ISC and PHAC.

Performance indicators:

Performance indicator-1: Percentage of population reporting their health is excellent or very good (ISC)
Performance indicator-2: Quantity of subsidized foods (kg) per capita by each category (CIRNAC)

Targets:

Target-1: At least 50% of adults report that their health is excellent or very good by March 31, 2028 (ISC)
Target-2: Stable or increasing from the 2011 baseline year (CIRNAC)

Data source and frequency of monitoring and reporting:

Data source-1: Regional Health Survey, Aboriginal Peoples Survey, and Canadian Community Health Survey
Frequency-1: Regional Health Survey: every 5 years, Aboriginal Peoples Survey: every 5 years, and Canadian Community Health Survey: every 2 years
Data source-2: NNC Database
Frequency-2: Annually (CIRNAC)

Results

CIRNAC: In 2018–19, CIRNAC continued to track the impact of the subsidy through the Revised Northern Food Basket. The program offers a subsidy for eligible nutritious food shipped to 116 isolated communities to help make perishable, nutritious foods more accessible and more affordable in Canada's isolated northern communities through the NNC program, leading to reduced prices in stores. Also, in the last quarter, the implementation of the revised eligible food list co-developed with Indigenous working group, a new highest subsidy level for specific products and increases to the subsidy rates for most of the communities was made.

ISC: ISC supports NNC by providing funding for culturally-appropriate retail and community-based Nutrition Education Initiatives to isolated northern communities. These activities address NNC’s shared outcome of strengthening the nutritional choices and overall health of isolated northern communities. This ultimate outcome is being tracked with the performance indicator.

The percentage of population reporting their health is excellent or very good: The results for this indicator are 37.8% for First Nations (Regional Health Survey, 2015–16), and 41.2% for Inuit (Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2017).

In 2018–19, 107 of 111 eligible First Nations and Inuit communities received funding support for NNC Nutrition Education Initiatives by ISC. At the community level, over 4,000 nutrition education activities were delivered to more than 44,000 participants, including:

An estimated 70% of funding recipients have indicated that community members have increased their knowledge of healthy eating and skills, and are choosing and preparing healthy food.

PHAC: PHAC became a federal partner to NNC in 2016 to support the nutrition education initiatives component of the program. This aspect of the program plays a key role in strengthening the nutritional choices and overall health of isolated northern communities. PHAC administers funding for nutrition education initiatives in 10 off-reserve communities that are outside of the mandate of ISC’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.

In 2018–19, 100% (10/10) of PHAC’s communities were promoting nutrition education, with funding recipients delivering a total of 500 nutrition education activities. These activities included cooking programs focused on food skills development, gardening and local harvesting activities, taste tests, promoting information on nutrition and healthy food, food box programs and health and wellness activities, among others. Funding recipients involved multiple population groups in various activities across PHAC’s 10 communities, with approximately 17% involving children, 24% involving youth, 43%  involving adults and 15% involving seniors.

Progress was made towards strengthening the nutritional choices and overall health of these 10 communities as 100% of funding recipients reported that community members gained knowledge and skills related to healthy eating as a result of these nutrition education activities.

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

Name of theme: Not applicable

Theme Outcome: Not applicable

Theme performance indicator(s): Not applicable

Theme target: Not applicable

Performance highlights

CIRNAC: In 2018–19, CIRNAC continued to help alleviate the high cost of food in the North by making perishable nutritious food more accessible and affordable to residents of isolated northern communities through the NNC food subsidy. The program has been able to meet its target for stabilizing food prices below 2% (at -0.01%) for the period of March 2018 to March 2019, compared to food prices elsewhere in Canada, which increased by 3.6% during the same period.

In 2018–19, CIRNAC co-chaired the NNC Indigenous Working Group (IWG) to co-develop options to make NNC more responsive to the needs of Northerners. As a result, in December 2018, the department announced changes to update and expand the program, including:

The announcement also included the creation of an Inuit-Crown Food Security working group to focus on food security and work towards a sustainable food system in Inuit Nunangat. The department continues to work directly with both working groups to improve the NNC program in-line with its mandate.

ISC: In 2018–19, 107 of 111 eligible First Nations and Inuit communities (93% of funding recipients), received funding support for NNC Nutrition Education Initiatives by ISC. At the community level, there was an increase in the number of nutrition education activities delivered from more than 3,500 in 2017–18 to over 4,000 in 2018–19. These activities included:

Most 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).

More than 44,000 participants attended nutrition education activities. 52% of funding recipients offered 4 or more different types of activities; 83% of the different types of activities had 6 or more participants. An estimated 70% of funding recipients have also indicated that community members have increased their knowledge of healthy eating and skills, and are choosing and preparing healthy food.

PHAC: In 2018–19, PHAC funded 10 projects to support culturally-appropriate retail and community-based nutrition education initiatives. The activities, developed and delivered by community-based organizations, are intended to complement the food retail subsidy by influencing healthy eating in isolated northern communities. The aim of the nutrition education activities is to increase knowledge of healthy eating and develop skills for the selection and preparation of healthy store-bought and traditional or country foods.

Performance information
Federal organizations Link to the department’s Program Inventory Horizontal initiative activities Total federal allocation (from start to end date) (dollars) 2018–19 Planned spending (dollars) 2018–19 Actual spending (dollars)
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada Nutrition North Nutrition North $581,082,763
(2011–12 to 2018–19)
$93,817,628 $82,084,760a
Indigenous Services Canada Healthy Living NNC Nutrition Education Initiatives $14,500,000
(2011–12 to 2015–16)
$21,766,000
(2016–17 to 2020–21)
$4,363,200 (ongoing)
$4,353,200 $3,940,793b
Public Health Agency of Canada Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention
Health Promotion Program
NNC Nutrition Education Initiatives $405,000 (2016–17)
$405,000 (2017–18)
$395,000 (2018–19)
$385,000 (2019–20)
$385,000 (2020–21 and ongoing)
$529,000 $501,980
Total for all federal organizations $623,686,963 $98,699,828 $86,527,533
a The variance between planned and actual spending is due to a late implementation of program updates announced in December 2018, which led to unspent funding.
b The variance between planned and actual spending is mainly due to challenges faced at the community level which resulted in 4 communities not accepting funds, and delays with staffing processes underway.

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Horizontal Initiative activity: Nutrition North
2018–19 Expected results 2018–19 Performance indicators 2018–19 Targets 2018–19 Actual results
Affordability of perishable, nutritious food in eligible communities is strengthened The annual growth rate of food prices in isolated northern communities compared to the national growth rate At or below the annual trend (increase/decrease) for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by March 31, 2019 -0.01%
Annual average cost of the Revised Northern Food Basket At or below the baseline for the food basket, adjusted for inflation rate for food purchased in stores by March 31, 2019 (Statistics Canada)
The baseline used is the 2010–2011 average annual cost for the food basket ($438)
$422.07
Residents in eligible communities have access to nutritious perishable food at a subsidized rate % of compliance/audit reports demonstrating that subsidies have been fully passed on to consumers 100% by March 31, 2019 No compliance reviews were conducted in 2018–19 due to delays in security checks process for the selected firms under the new request for proposals lead by Chief Financial Officer sector
Annual % variation in the quantity of subsidized items shipped by air 3% to 5% by March 31, 2019 0.96%a
a The 2018–19 target was not met due to the following factors: a) based on the demand for nutritious food, a smaller than expected increase in total weight shipped by air occurred, and b) the removal of 5 communities from NNC in 2018–19 due to communities gaining year-round surface transportation or community relocation, which impacted the total amount of weight shipped. These 5 communities represent approximately 1% of the total weight shipped by air in 2017–18.

Indigenous Services Canada

Horizontal Initiative activity: NNC Nutrition Education Initiative
2018–19 Expected results 2018–19 Performance indicators 2018–19 Targets 2018–19 Actual results
Residents in eligible communities have knowledge of healthy eating and skills, and are choosing and preparing healthy foods Number of participants by type of nutrition education activity 4 or more different types of activities per year by March 31, 2019

6 or more participants per type of activity by March 31, 2019
More than 44,000 participants attended nutrition education activities.

52% of funding recipients offered 4 or more different types of activities.

83% of the different types of activities delivered by funding recipients had 6 or more participants.
% of funding recipients reporting knowledge of healthy eating and skills among residents in eligible communities 100% of funding recipients are reporting knowledge of healthy eating and skills by March 31, 2019 70%a
Quantity by weight of fruit and vegetables Stable or increasing annually by March 31, 2019 9,021,896.78 kg of fruit and vegetables were shippedb
Residents in eligible communities have access to retail and community based nutrition education initiatives % of communities promoting nutrition education activities 100% of funding recipients are promoting and offering nutrition education activities by March 31, 2019 93%c
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) by March 31, 2019 More than 4,000 NNC nutrition education activities were delivered by First Nations and Inuit funding recipientsd
a An estimated 70% of funding recipients indicated that community members have increased their knowledge of healthy eating and skills, and are choosing and preparing healthy food. The 2018–19 target was not met as the transfer and development of healthy eating knowledge and skills can take time to become widely established and observable amongst residents of a community, more so in cases where communities are managing issues of capacity, access, etc.
b This represents a 4.79% increase from 2017–18.
c 93% of funding recipients are promoting and offering nutrition education activities (representing 107 of 111 eligible communities). The 2018–19 target was not met due to challenges faced at the community level that resulted in 4 communities not accepting funds, as well as delays with staffing processes.
d The majority of communities offered nutrition education activities to at least 2 target populations (e.g., children, youth, women and seniors) and in at least 2 venues (e.g., schools, daycares, stores, community centres and on the land).

Public Health Agency of Canada

Horizontal Initiative activity: NNC Nutrition Education Initiative
2018–19 Expected results 2018–19 Performance indicators 2018–19 Targetsa 2018–19 Actual results
Community workers are trained to deliver retail and community-based nutrition education activities in eligible communities % of funding recipients with trained NNC community workers to deliver programming 100% of recipients with trained NNC community workers to deliver programming 100% (10 of 10 communities)
Residents in eligible communities have access to retail and community-based nutrition education initiatives # of communities promoting nutrition education activities 10/10 communities promoting nutrition education activities 10/10
# and types of nutrition education activities (by target population groups, venues) 120 activities offered to 2 or more population groups (i.e. children, youth, adults, seniors) 500 NNC nutrition education activitiesb
Residents in eligible communities have knowledge of healthy eating and skills, and are choosing and preparing healthy foods # of participants by type of nutrition education activity At least 1,260 participants in 4 types of nutrition education activities (e.g. cooking activities, nutrition sessions, taste tests, gardening activities, etc.) 2,049 participantsc
% of funding recipients reporting knowledge of healthy eating and skills among residents in eligible communities 90% of funding recipients are reporting knowledge of healthy eating and skills 100% of recipients
a In the 2018–19 CIRNAC Departmental Plan, the following was written: "Target to be determined following 2017–2018 data collection". The 2018–19 targets above were determined in-year as the respective data collection cycle occurred after the 2018–19 CIRNAC Departmental Plan was published.
b Types of activities included: cooking/food skills development (46% of activities), gardening/ local food harvesting activities (18%), taste tests (15%), promotion of nutrition/healthy food knowledge (13%), and other, including wellness activities, food box programs, etc. (9%). Activities involved multiple target groups: 17% involved children, 24% involved youth, 43% involved adults, 15% involved seniors.
c Of these participants, the proportion taking part by type of activity included: 26% in taste tests, 22% in cooking/food skills activities, 17% in gardening activities, 17% in nutrition/promotion of healthy food knowledge activities, and 18% in other activities.

Contact information

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Wayne Walsh, Director General, Northern Strategic Policy
Northern Affairs Organizations
Telephone: 819-934-3171
Wayne.Walsh@canada.ca

Indigenous Services Canada
Mary Trifonopoulos, Senior Program Manager, Healthy Living
Population Health and Primary Care Directorate
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
Telephone: 613-292-7518
Mary.Trifonopoulos@canada.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
Karen McKinnon, Executive Director, Division of Children and Youth, Centre for Health Promotion
Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch
Telephone: (613) 960-0376
Karen.McKinnon@canada.ca

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