Accessing the retail subsidy

Nutrition North Canada is always looking to expand the reach and effectiveness of the program. New establishments are encouraged to apply.

Improvements to Nutrition North Canada

Improvements to the Nutrition North Canada (NNC) retail subsidy program announced in August 2022 provide additional supports to residents in isolated communities. It is now easier for small northern retailers and suppliers to register with the program, and the program eligibility has expanded to food banks, charitable organizations and local growers to increase access to donated and locally produced foods.

On this page

Who can apply?

To sell or distribute food and other essentials at reduced prices with financial support from the NNC retail subsidy, your business or charitable organization can either:


Once registered, you'll be able to claim the subsidy on eligible items shipped to or grown in eligible communities.

The following types of establishments can apply to register:

Retailers operating stores in eligible communities who sell eligible food and essential items.
Suppliers located outside of eligible communities who sell food to:
  • northern retailers
  • eligible social institutions (schools, daycares, and more)
  • eligible commercial establishments (restaurants, hotels, and more)
  • individuals in eligible communities (direct or personal orders)
Country food processors or distributors:
Establishments that are registered, inspected or licensed by the government and produce food approved-for-export and are located in a community eligible for a subsidy under the program.
Food banks and charitable organizations:
Registered food banks and other charitable organizations which serve eligible communities, without profit.
Local food growers:
Greenhouses and other growing facilities located in eligible communities that produce food for local sale or distribution.

While individuals cannot apply for the subsidy, residents of northern, isolated communities can access subsidized items by purchasing them from registered retailers or placing a direct order with a registered supplier.

NNC does not subsidize the operations of resource companies, construction companies and government establishments in or near eligible communities. For more information, please see Non-eligible organizations.

How to apply?

The first step in applying is to contact the program identifying your establishment and expressing interest in accessing the retail subsidy:

The application process requires the completion of an application form, along with these supporting documents:

Evaluations of supplier applications also considers:

Small retailers and local growers without a business number with the Canada Revenue Agency can provide a letter of support from the local government or Band Administrator, indicating they are operating with the support of the local government. Other accommodations for small retailers and local growers wishing to register with the program may apply.

Once an application is approved and you are registered with the program, a Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs (CIRNAC) official will contact you to prepare a Contribution Agreement. This agreement outlines the obligations that the recipient must fulfill to receive subsidy payments from CIRNAC, as well as CIRNAC's obligations. These obligations support the program objective, which include:

Subsidy claims, payments and verification

As per each Contribution Agreement, the registered recipients must submit subsidy claims each month the subsidy is accessed in order to receive a subsidy payment. A third-party claims processor handles the program's subsidy claims system, reviewing the information provided in each claim for accuracy and completeness.

Each claim must include:

Retailers and suppliers submit claims each month. The amount of the subsidy is calculated using this formula: subsidy level ($/kg) × weight of eligible item (kg) = $ subsidy payment. The program also conducts compliance audits of a sample of recipients each year, through an independent, accredited third-party auditor. NNC is committed to ensuring the full subsidy is passed on to northern consumers

Additional reporting requirements

As stated in each Contribution Agreement, subsidy recipients are required to periodically report additional data such as the pre-subsidy prices and the cost of items in the Revised Northern Food Basket. This data supports program monitoring and management, and provides a broader understanding of the cost of living in NNC eligible communities.

Non-eligible organizations

Recipients registered with NNC are not allowed to claim a subsidy for products sold to or ordered on behalf of the following kinds of businesses and organizations:

Employees and owners of such businesses in or near eligible communities can benefit from the NNC subsidy, as individuals, by purchasing eligible food in local stores or by placing direct or personal orders with registered suppliers.

Claims portal for registered recipients

Use the claim tool to submit subsidy-related documents (Login required).

Did you find what you were looking for?

What was wrong?

You will not receive a reply. Don't include personal information (telephone, email, SIN, financial, medical, or work details).
Maximum 300 characters

Thank you for your feedback

Date modified: