September 28, 2009

Arctic delivery keeps food bills high

Canadians in the northern Nunavut territory are not seeing the benefits of falling prices, as they are in the rest of Canada, local officials said.

It's hard living up here, in a small community like this, where the majority of people are unemployed and have to depend on welfare, said Joanni Sallerina, mayor of Gjoa Haven, a northern hamlet of 1,150 people, the Toronto Star reported Monday.

While prices dropped 0.8 percent across Canada in August compared to August 2008, inflation is 1.5 percent in the Nunavut territory, where residents spend about two-thirds of their income on food.

Because most foods are shipped in, the price of a two-liter bottle of milk is $8.99. A 12-can case of Coca-Cola runs $27.47, the newspaper said.

In the spring, when supplies run low from ice-bound months in which freighters cannot get in, a can of Coca-Cola can cost up to $4, the Star said.

Some resort to packages mailed by Canada Post, which are offered at subsidized rates for approved food items, such as milk and vegetables.

Foods approved by the mail service include pizza and frozen dinners. But hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken are not allowed, the Star said.