Nfld. & Labrador

Loaf of bread costs $7 in Labrador

People in some Northern Labrador communities are paying more than $7 for a loaf of bread – at least one woman fears it's an indication that food prices are too high in northern Canada.

Politicians say federal Nutrition North Canada Program isn't working

A loaf of bread in Rigolet, Labrador, for $7.09, this April. (CBC)

People in some Labrador communities are paying more than $7 for a loaf of bread, once again raising concerns that food prices are too high in northern Canada.

Charlotte Wolfrey, who paid $7.09 for a loaf of bread in Rigolet this week, is worried the cost of other food may also rise.

"Goodness, if a loaf of bread costs three dollars more, imagine what a dozen apples would cost?" she asked.

Wolfrey said she was told the bread cost more than usual because it was shipped in from Winnipeg.

Federal food program under fire

In February, politicians from across northern Canada, including Labrador, wrote a scathing letter to the federal government criticizing its Nutrition North Canada program.

They said the program, which is supposed to make healthy food more affordable in remote northern communities, has contributed to increased prices for many goods, has made it more difficult for people in the North to make personal food orders and has diminished consumers' ability to choose what they eat.

Politicians from Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Quebec and Labrador wrote the letter to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

"It is our view that the NNCP is not meeting its objectives in their entirety to ensure that nutritious foods and essential household products are more accessible and affordable to northern communities, homes and families," said their letter.

The Nutrition North Canada program (NNCP) replaced the Food Mail program, which gave transportation subsidies to lower the food prices to communities without regular road or marine access.

Under the new program, the subsidies go to retailers who negotiate freight rates for lower costs. Those savings are supposed to be passed on to consumers.

Since the change, prices for certain items have skyrocketed in many remote northern communities.