Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
Human Resources, Labour and Employment
January 12, 2009

Further Enhancements Made to Air Foodlift Subsidy

People living on the north and south coast and the straits of Labrador will benefit from new enhancements to the Air Foodlift Subsidy program (AFS) announced today by the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs, and the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Effective this regular AFS season, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will increase the AFS rate to 80 per cent. This will mean an average increase of 10 per cent for participating communities, which results in a decrease in costs the consumer. This is a direct result of the additional funding announced in Budget 2008 through the Poverty Reduction Strategy when the annual investment in the program was increased from $400,000 to $600,000.

"The cost of shipping perishable and nutritious goods by air to isolated coastal communities is significant and this government is proud to take further steps to offset these costs," said Minister Hickey. "Through the Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador, the Air Foodlift Subsidy program is continually monitored and adapted to the changing needs of the people of Labrador."

Along with the increase in the air freight subsidy, the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, in consultation with the Department of Health and Community Services, revised the eligible food list to reflect more nutritious items. The list is available on the Provincial Governmentís website at: http://www.laa.gov.nl.ca/laa/AFSeligibleitems.pdf

"The Air Foodlift Subsidy program is a Provincial Government initiative that ensures residents of Labrador who live on the north and south coasts and the straits have access to wholesome, nutritious foods at a reasonable cost," said Minister Pottle. "We will continue to work and consult with the Nunatsiavut Government, the Innu Nation, community leaders, and others to monitor this program to best ensure that it is the consumers who directly benefit from our efforts."

"Through the provincial Poverty Reduction Strategy, our government has made building a stronger social safety net a key goal and objective," said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. "We can work toward reaching this goal by improving access to necessities. The enhancements made this year to the Air Foodlift Subsidy demonstrate our governmentís commitment to continue to work with and meet the needs of residents in coastal Labrador communities, and further the development of this important goal."

In 2008, the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs conducted a review of rates across Labrador coastal communities that resulted in these new enhancements.

On July 28, 2008, the Provincial Government expanded the Air Foodlift Subsidy program to subsidize select perishable fruits, vegetables, dairy products and a full freight milk subsidy during the marine shipping season for north coast communities, Black Tickle, Norman Bay and Williamís Harbour. As well, the funding enabled the Provincial Government to introduce a full air freight subsidy on fresh milk.

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Media contacts:

John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
709-729-1674, 728-7762
jtompkins@gov.nl.ca
Ronalda Walsh
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 699-7903
ronaldawalsh@gov.nl.ca

2009 01 12                                                    2:35 p.m.
 


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