If you think the price of bacon is getting outrageous, just consider what you have to pay for food and beverages in Nunavut.
This picture of cases of Nestle water on sale in a Northmart in Iqaluit on Baffin Island was posted to imgur earlier this week:
At first blush, these prices look like they might be in Mexican pesos. But no, these are Canadian dollars.
The people of the Canadian Arctic suffer “the highest rate of food insecurity in the world for an Aboriginal people living in a developed country,” Free The Children co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger wrote in a HuffPost blog last year.
There don’t seem to be any easy solutions to the enormous mark-ups. The volume of food shipments to the north is very low, transportation costs very high, and infrastructure barely existent. That makes for very high costs.
There are efforts afoot to have northern communities rely more on “country food,” the food sources available locally. But there are prohibitive costs there too — hunting rifles, fishing boats and the fuel needed to cover large distances aren’t cheap and getting food this way will run you an estimated $150 a day.
The Harper government in 2011 reformed a subsidy program meant to lower food costs in the north. The system shifted from one that subsidized shipping costs to one that subsidizes retailers directly.
The retailers were supposed to pass the savings on to consumers, but locals say they’re not sure if that is actually happening.
Check out these pictures of some of the outrageous price stickers you’ll find in northern food stores: