We would pass savings to customers, retailers say


In response to the letter from Vicki Aitaok of Cambridge Bay, “Food mail benefits retailers, not consumers.”

We want to assure your readers that we are equally concerned with the high price of food in Canada’s North, which is the reason we are lobbying Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to create a new and increased food-mail subsidy rate for highly perishable and nutritious foods.

At the current perishable food-mail freight-rate the transportation charges on a single four-litre container of milk from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay is approximately $4.08. The new rate we are lobbying to achieve would see the transportation costs on this same four-litre container of milk reduced to $1.66.

The $2.42 savings from the improved freight rate would be passed along to consumers and not pocketed by the retailer, as you state in your letter. In fact, there are over 140 northern and remote communities in Canada that are eligible to benefit from an increased subsidy.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, working with Canada Post, regularly monitors and audits the pricing of food mail eligible products throughout the North to ensure the subsidy is reflected in the prices of products sold.

It is often forgotten when comparing prices that retailers operating in remote locations are impacted by much higher operating costs, which include electricity, heating oil, maintenance, repair, and building costs. These expenses all factor into the prices of items sold.

We are proud to be part of the communities we serve and intend to do all we can to reduce costs and improve pricing. With the support of customers and local and regional governments hopefully our federally elected representatives hear our message and do the same.

Jim Deyell
Director, Public Affairs Northern Canada
The North West Company
on behalf of the Affordable Food Alliance

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