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Nutrition North Canada

Nutrition North Canada: Program Overview

The Government of Canada is committed to providing Northerners with healthy food choices at affordable prices. On May 21, 2010, it was announced that a new program called Nutrition North Canada ("NNC") would replace the Food Mail program effective April 1, 2011. The objective of the new program is to make nutritious, perishable foods accessible to Canadians living in isolated northern communities.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada manages the program and provides funding to Nutrition North Canada to cover part of the cost of purchasing & transporting eligible items. Health Canada provides advice and guidance on nutrition.

Who benefits from the Nutrition North Canada program?

There are approximately 140 isolated northern communities (90,000 people) in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta that are eligible for the Nutrition North Canada program. Communities that are isolated only for short periods of time during freeze-up and break-up are not eligible (eg: Inuvik).

Old Crow, located in the Yukon, is served by Air North, Yukon's Airline year-round. Residents and retailers of Old Crow, can receive food items shipped via Air North Cargo using the Northern Nutrition Canada subsidy program. All eligible parcels must be picked up at the Air North Cargo counter located in the Old Crow Airport. It will not be delivered to the post office or to homes or businesses unless special arrangements have been made through the Air North Old Crow Customer Service Agents.

Customer Eligibility

While most subsidized shipments are made to retailers, social institutions (schools, daycare, etc.), restaurants, hotels and individual households are also eligible to receive subsidized shipments, provided that they place their orders with southern suppliers registered with the program.

It is not the intent of the NNC program to subsidize the operations of resource companies, construction companies and government establishments in or near eligible communities. Therefore, northern retailers, southern suppliers and northern country food processors / distributors registered with NNC will not be allowed to claim a subsidy for products sold to or ordered on behalf of the following kinds of businesses and establishments (note: the list is not intended to be comprehensive):

  • mining companies
  • oil and gas companies
  • exploration companies and camps
  • companies providing support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction, exploration and development
  • surveying and mapping services
  • construction companies
  • environmental cleanup operations
  • electricity companies
  • weather stations
  • research stations and projects
  • military establishments and operations
  • other such businesses and establishments

Claims for shipments to individuals acting as agents for southern suppliers or for northern businesses and establishments of the types listed above, with the intention of enabling shipments to these kinds of businesses and establishments to occur, will not be accepted under NNC. In addition, these kinds of businesses and establishments are not eligible to become NNC program recipients. Employees and owners of such businesses in or near eligible communities will benefit from the NNC subsidy, as individuals, by purchasing eligible food in local stores or by placing "personal orders" with southern suppliers registered with NNC.

Direct shipments to, and purchases made in local stores by individuals, organizations, establishments and businesses providing day care services, school breakfast programs, healthcare and similar services to northern residents as well as by tourist operations (hotels, restaurants, outfitters, camps, etc.) will be eligible for a subsidy.

For further information, contact Nutrition North Canada at nnc@ainc-inac.gc.ca or (819) 994-4810.

Item Eligibility and Subsidy Rates

The flat shipping rates that were a feature of the Canada Poste Food Mail program will be replaced by the Nutrition North Canada "subsidy rates" on a per kilogram basis for each category of eligible items, customized to every community to account for differences in transportation and operation costs. Subsidy rates will be re-evaluated periodically by Nutrition North Canada to maintain food prices as equitable as possible across eligible communities and to ensure the program operates within its budget.

All foods have been divided into Eligible Food and Non-Food Items (to view complete list click here). Subsidies are based on the following 3 subsidy levels:

  • Level 1 applies to items listed under the Higher Subsidy Level in the program's Item Eligibility List. These items will receive the higher level of subsidy. For more information see the complete Nutrition North Canada: Item Eligibility list.
  • Level 2 applies to items listed under the Lower Subsidy Level in the program's Item Eligibility List. These items will receive the lower level of subsidy. For more information see the complete Nutrition North Canada: Item Eligibility list.
  • Level 2 also applies to eligible non-perishable and non-food items for eligible communities without seasonal surface or marine transportation (i.e. Old Crow, Yukon), as listed below:

Where can I ship from?

Nutrition North Canada shipments only available for the routing of Whitehorse to Old Crow, Yukon, via Air North Cargo Whitehorse

Can I send my Nutrition North Canada shipments collect?

Unfortunately no. All shipping costs must be paid at time of drop off at Air North Cargo Whitehorse.

What are the costs associated with sending eligible items under the Nutrition North Canada program?


Destination Level 1 (High)*
cost per kilogram
Level 2 (Low)*
cost per kilogram

Whitehorse to Old Crow, YT

General Freight Tariff - $3.53 per kg* plus applicable surcharges and gst

LESS: NNC Subsidy - $2.70 per kg

Customer pays - $0.83 per kg* plus applicable surcharges and GST based on standard tariff rates

General Freight Tariff - $3.53 per kg* plus applicable surcharges and gst

LESS: NNC Subsidy - $0.90 per kg

Customer pays - $2.63 per kg* plus applicable surcharges and GST based on standard tariff rates

MANDATORY - Shippers must provide the receipt from the retail store from where they obtained the groceries in order to be eligible for the Nutrition North Canada subsidy.

*Air North Cargo minimal rates apply. Click here for details.

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