Life is more and more expensive in Nunavik

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Life is getting more and more expensive in Nunavik

Galloping inflation in recent months has hit residents of Nunavik communities hard because of the cost of high transport of everyday goods.

The cost of transporting food has increased by about 30% for Kuujjuaq merchant Eric Pearson.

In the heart of the village of Kuujjuaq, the Newviq'vi general store is packed at the start of the week.

On one side, a relatively well-stocked grocery store, with a selection of fresh vegetables and frozen meat.

The vast majority of perishable goods in Nunavik must arrive by plane, which considerably increases its cost.

On the other side of the store, a hardware section, where motor oils rub shoulders with rolls of fabric sold in bulk to make traditional parkas.

The vast selection of products is the pride of the co-owner, Éric Pearson, who however says he is worried.

Stuffing store shelves has never been so expensive, he says.

Only in transport, it costs me 30% more than last year. The price of container transport has increased, trucks to sea terminals too. All this is added to the purchase price of food which has really increased for certain foods, he explains.

In Nunavik, everything has to be transported by plane or by ship, which makes the cost of products skyrocket.

Reluctantly, Éric Pearson did not have other choices than to raise prices.

I am worried about the population. Many residents live on fixed incomes and I don't know how they will be able to make ends meet.

At the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) treasury offices, all eyes are riveted on the data provided by traders in the region.

The KRG monitors retail prices to ensure the effectiveness of its program to reduce the cost of living in Nunavik, which benefits from an envelope of $115 million from the Quebec government until 2025.< /p>

About 60% of the total program envelope is intended to reduce the cost of food and essential products.

Subsidies to merchants make it possible to reduce the price of food and essential products by 20 to 40% in the 14 communities of Nunavik.

Will it be necessary to adjust the subsidies to curb the impact of inflation?

We will see, answers the treasurer of the ARK, Chahine Noujeim.

< p class="e-p">There is a certain delay, according to him, before the data collected from traders is representative of the phenomenon.

It may not be representative in the reports I get, but I'm sure it will be in the next few months. Food prices have increased in the south, transport too. There is no reason why the impact of inflation will not be felt in the North, he explains.

Chahine Noujeim hopes that the measures put in place will reduce the impact of inflation on the lives of Nunavimiut.

Chahine Noujeim wishes to wait for more data on the impact of inflation on prices in Nunavik.

However, he believes that it would be impossible to increase the reimbursement amount for foodstuffs without reopening the agreement with Quebec.

Clarification: A previous version of this text failed to specify that an increase in benefits on the purchase of food cannot be done without renegotiating the agreement.

Obviously , when we increase a measure, it will eat into the total envelope, which is set at 115 million. We could not maintain it without Quebec reopening the agreement to improve it, he adds.

The KRG has already increased the purchase subsidy this year gasoline, which was reduced from 40 to 75 cents per liter.

The measure had become necessary given the marked increase in the price at the pump in the region, which is now close to $2.70 per litre.

In Nunavik, the price of gasoline is determined once a year, when fuel stocks are purchased.

Chahine Noujeim admits that it will not be possible to support this measure beyond a year without renegotiating the total budget envelope with Quebec.

The latter wishes to wait until 'have all the necessary data in hand before starting official discussions.

He hopes that a possible stabilization of the price of gasoline in the next year can bring the price down transport of goods in the North.

But until then, all options are being evaluated by the regional administration in order to minimize the cost of living in Nunavik.

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