Terms of Reference

1. Introduction

Nutrition North Canada, a subsidy program for perishable healthy foods shipped by plane to the North, includes a new approach for managerial oversight and public participation to ensure that northern residents and communities benefit fully from the program. A significant feature in the governance of the program is the establishment of an Advisory Board that provides information and advice to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to help guide the management, direction, and activities of the program.

2. Objectives

The Board will assist the Minister by providing strategic advice from the standpoint of northern communities, taking into account the information and views provided by researchers, stakeholders, and experts in the transportation and distribution of healthy food in Canada's North. Specifically, the Board will:

  • Represent the perspectives and interests of northern residents and communities in relation to the management and effectiveness of the program.
  • Collect, analyze, and integrate relevant information regarding the operational effectiveness and shortcomings of the program, and consider policy or management changes with budgeted resources or alternative measures to enable its more effective and efficient delivery.
  • Explore options to support the management of the program within its approved budget.
  • Draw from the experience and expertise of organizations and individuals involved in transportation, distribution, nutrition, public health, government agencies, community development, retailers, wholesalers, and others engaged in the provision of food to northern communities, by obtaining information from them through briefings, research, and discussions.
  • Review and consider matters including, but not exclusive to, program performance (e.g. food quality and availability), communications and public awareness, health and nutrition strategies, transportation systems, food supply chain management, food pricing, and product subsidy eligibility, in terms of the ways in which they are serving the interests of northern residents or could be improved.
  • Develop consensus positions and strategic advice on matters related to the program, and communicate those views to the Minister and senior departmental officials on an annual and as-needed basis.
  • Alert the Minister to matters related to the program that may require action or management decisions on a priority basis.

3. Structure

The Board will be comprised of five to seven members, including a Chair and Vice Chair, all appointed by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. These persons will collectively represent a wide range of the primary perspectives and interests of northern residents and communities.

The members will serve in their own right, not as representatives of any particular organization, area or special interest. They will be chosen on the basis of their merit and standing in the community as individuals.

Board members will be appointed for a three-year term that could be renewed on a yearly basis after the initial three years.

Board members will serve on a voluntary basis, but be reimbursed for expenses actually incurred and directly related to their duties as Board members.

4. Procedures and Practices

The Board will operate with funding levels, support staff and secretariat services assigned by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

The Board will establish its work plan and schedules on an annual basis. This work plan may be supplemented by requests by the Minister for the Board to provide information and advice on specific program matters. The Board members will meet on a scheduled basis three times each year.

The Chair (and members if possible) will meet with the Minister at least on an annual basis, and with senior departmental officials on a regular basis, to explain the Board's perspectives, findings and advice.

The Board will provide a concise annual report to the Minister, as well as reports and recommendations from time to time as the Board deems appropriate.

The Board will work closely with stakeholders, community representatives and interested parties who could provide information, data, insights and points of view that could contribute constructively to the Board's work.