03/11/2015 03:22 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT

Subsidies in place for iced up southern Labrador to offset higher food costs

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government has introduced a subsidy program to help residents of southern Labrador defray the high cost of perishable food brought in by aircraft.

Fruits, vegetables and dairy products are usually shipped to the region aboard a ferry based on the island of Newfoundland.

But thick pack ice in the Strait of Bell Isle has kept MV Apollo stuck in St. Barbe, N.L., for more than a week.

The subsidy is typically paid to Labrador retailers to offset the cost of air freight.

The provincial government says the program will remain in effect for five days after regularly scheduled ferry service resumes.

As for the stranded ferry, the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Terry Fox has arrived in the strait to cut a path to the ferry terminal at Blanc Sablon, Que., which is on the southern edge of the Quebec-Labrador border.