Northern Hunger

 

(Mark Gollom/CBC)

 

A new report by Food Secure Canada has found that Residents of remote First Nation reserves in northern Ontario typically spend more than half of their income on food. This report found that while the average four-person Torontonian family spends $847 per month on food, families in Moose Factory spend $1,640. Even more startling, families in Fort Albany spend over $1,830 on food, and families in Attawapiskat spend a whopping $1,909. In communities such as Attawapiskat, Moose Factory, and Fort Albany, food costs twice as much as it does in Toronto. 

Here are some of the insane prices that residents have to pay:

  • $9 for cornflakes

  • $10 for a jug of milk

  • $10 for five and a half pounds of flour

  • $20 for a pound of ground beef

 

Why is it so expensive? These communities are isolated and can’t be reached by roads, therefore food has to be delivered either by air or by sea. Canadian grocery stores are not only responsible for the transportation of their food, but for the infrastructure to keep it from spoiling on the way there. Greater traveling distances also result in higher prices for food, and maintaining a store in a northern region costs more than it does to do so in a southern community.

For residents of reserves where unemployment rates are high, the excruciatingly expensive costs of food make it impossible to maintain a nutritious diet. As a result, many people either turn to cheaper food and face chronic malnutrition, or simply go hungry.

Even though the federal government implemented the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program, a “subsidy program to provide Northerners in isolated communities with improved access to perishable nutritious food”, not a lot has changed.

Gigi Veeraraghavan, one of the authors of the report said “the subsidy, as we experience it in Fort Albany, has not made it possible for the average family to eat well, let alone afford basic things like diapers and toilet paper. (...) We are living hand to mouth”.

News Sources:

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/09/12/northern-ontario-reserve-residents-spend-over-half-of-income-on-food-report.html

http://globalnews.ca/news/2934532/20-ground-beef-northern-ontario-first-nations-spend-more-than-50-of-income-on-food/

http://www.nutritionnorthcanada.gc.ca/eng/1415385762263/1415385790537

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/10-for-bag-of-potatoes-northern-ont-aboriginals-spend-more-than-half-of-income-on-food-1.3068160

Image Sources:

http://foodsecurecanada.org/paying-for-nutrition http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/attawapiskat-reserve-residents-suicides-1.3537520

http://www.womansday.com/life/work-money/g2168/things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-grocery-store/