Inflation could affect Nunavut hunters, sealift prices

Rising fuel costs present risk for another level of inflation, says Arctic co-op exec

The rising cost of fuel is accelerating the already high level of inflation in Canada and is expected to further impact Nunavut. (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By David Lochead

Canada’s rising inflation rate has hit Nunavut, affecting everything from food and sealift prices to the cost of fueling up a snowmobile.

And it might get worse, according to organizations operating in the territory.

“There is going to be a whole other layer of inflation that is going to impact the costs here,” Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. vice-president of stakeholder relations Duane Wilson said, referring to rising fuel costs.

Inflation has risen steadily in Canada, with the annual inflation rate up 6.8 per cent in April — a 31-year high, according to Statistics Canada.

Reasons for the increase include supply chain delays and the rising cost of fuel due to the war in Ukraine.

However, Nunavut has had somewhat of a buffer from the rise in prices being felt in other parts of the country because some businesses would have resupplied their inventories last year, Wilson said.

That is helped by the Government of Nunavut buying this year’s supply of fuel a year in advance, before prices shot up.

According to fuel monitoring organization, the Canadian average price for gasoline jumped from $1.55 per litre in mid-February to the current price of $2.02 per litre.

But with northern organizations restocking via the sealift and relying on shipping cargo through flying, Nunavut will become vulnerable to the impacts of fuel prices, Wilson said, creating a potential “double whammy” on inflation.

For Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc., which operates sealifts and cargo in Nunavut, prices for dry cargo have been raised this year mainly due to the hike in fuel prices, the company’s business development manager Brian Tattuinee said.

The company’s price to ship dry cargo to Iqaluit in 2022 will be approximately $306 per tonne, compared to $277 last year.

But the impact of inflation is already being felt in food prices around Nunavut, said Rachel Blais, executive director of Iqaluit’s Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre, which offers daily meals and community programming.

Recently, it has served free meals to 250 people per day.

“To put it in perspective, this time last year our average was about 115,” Blais said.

Not only is there a rise in demand for the daily meals, there’s also an increase in food costs, which impacts the centre’s budget.

Statistics Canada recently reported food prices rose 9.7 per cent this year.

If Nunavut sees fuel prices increase next year due to rising global costs for fuel, Blais said hunters will be negatively impacted because they rely on fuel to hunt and provide country food.

Hunters, who work with the food centre for its programming, supply country food with essential nutrients to Nunavummiut through traditional sharing networks, Blais said.

With less country food available in sharing networks, “we’ll see those impacts [of inflation] amongst people in the territory who are experiencing severe and chronic food insecurity,” she said.

Wilson said a way to improve policy to address inflation would be to change the federal Nutrition North program, which subsidizes nutritious food and certain essential items. As it stands, the subsidy is not scaled for inflation.

“So you’re going to have a cargo rate that has to go up because of the price pressure on fuel, but the subsidy itself is stable” and won’t rise with inflation, he said.


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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    Of course it will affect hunters, the same way it is affecting everyone else in the world right now. Down south its costing almost $50 to fill a 5-gallon Jerry can. Nunavut probably has the cheapest gas in the world right now, so enjoy it while you can. Might be time to pull out the dog-teams and kayaks.

  2. Posted by pissed off on

    Northern people should try to put things in perspective before crying foul on the rising costs.
    Please look at the WORLD situation before you compare. The whole world is on fire. Prices of fuel, food and other goods are rising to grave levels all over the world. It is not a Northern situation, not a Canadian situation, not a US situation . It is global.
    What makes you think that the North will be protected.
    The price of fuel for one is the cheapest in Canada , in Nunavut

    • Posted by Inuk on

      It has been affecting us long time, everything has changed since Nunavut was created. For you, big family is 4 or 5 people, for us is 8 to 12 people living in the house. Guess how much it is for 2 weeks of food including healthy food includes fruit and vegetables. Just to keep up with food alone, gotta make $100,000 or more for everything. Bills, and food. But to buy skidoo, boat, outboard,qamuti, tent, wood,lunber, etc. I can keep going what really going with us Inuit in the north if you’re gonna be judging us

      • Posted by Funny on

        Funny though people here love to complain about everything being so expensive but don’t bat an eye when it comes to buying smokes weed and bingos?

  3. Posted by Northern Guy on

    There’s no “might” about it. Next year will be very hard. Everything will cost orders of magnitude more starting with all types of fuel. It will cost a lot more to fill up vehicles and snowmachines, heat and power homes, and fly in aircraft. Everybody get ready because its going to get very bumpy.

  4. Posted by How about that NEU on

    Nunavut has been spared the high gas prices in Canada because it buys it annually but transportation and shipping will murder us. How about that 1-3% raise offered that NEU is advocating we accept? Everyone working for the GN will be taking a 4% minim pay check. That’s $4000 per $100k for any idiots who vote to ratify.
    Shameful that our newspaper does not report on this but seems to report on Nunavik collective bargaining.

  5. Posted by Inflation 101 on

    Governments all around the world, including Canada, pumped vast amounts of money into the hands of many out-of-work individuals, so they could pay rent and buy food. That money has since accumulated in the hands of relatively few wealthy people who are using it to speculate, primarily in stocks and real estate. Until governments take that extra money out of circulation it will continue to be the major driver of inflation. Inflation is the result of too much money (in some people’s hands) chasing too few goods. Supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine are minor factors, by comparison.
    But from the perspective of the GN, it is going to have to pay more to its employees and to Nunavummiut on Social Assistance.

    • Posted by Alex on

      lol…..inflation is the rate of rising prices and goods in the economy, heavily relying on supply and demand. Work stoppages do to ongoing pandemic causing issues in the supply chain of raw materials is one of the main driving factors.

  6. Posted by Truestory on

    Hope the “Land Guardians” in Pond Inlet will cry foul about the fuel prices. They’ll probably ask B.I.M., if they still have access to the fuel. Bunch of idiotic hypocrites.

  7. Posted by George on

    Judging by the number of people I hear blasting around in the middle of the night turning gasoline into noise, the prices are not nearly high enough – yet.

  8. Posted by Confused on

    one world one government is the only way.

  9. Posted by Hunters? You mean PubG on

    Hunting has become stay home, toke and live off your grandparents while playing PubG.

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