Lowering the price of milk, fresh vegetables and fruit in remote
Northern Manitoba Communities.

What is AFFIRM?

  • AFFIRM stands for Affordable Food in Remote Manitoba
  • This program reduces the price of milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits in eligible remote Northern communities through a subsidy. The subsidy is provided to participating stores and each store is required to pass on the full subsidy to the customer by reducing the sale price of milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit.
  • The program is monitored to ensure the subsidy is passed on to the customer.
  • Any store that sells milk, fresh vegetables or fresh fruits in eligible communities can apply to participate.

Why is AFFIRM needed?

  • Healthy foods are often very expensive in Northern Manitoba due to factors such as lack of all-weather road access, transportation costs, limited retail competition, and perishability.
  • To address this issue the province engaged leaders in several communities that experience some of the highest food prices in the province.
  • For more information on other Government Initiatives to increase food security in the North visit www.gov.mb.ca/inr/major-initiatives/nhfi/.

How were participating communities selected?

  • Participating communities are Northern Manitoba communities that are not directly serviced by an all-weather road and which do not receive the full subsidy through the federal Nutrition North Canada program.

Eligible communities where the AFFIRM Program has been established:

  • Churchill
  • Pukatawagan

Eligible Foods

The AFFIRM Subsidy applies to the eligible foods listed in the table below.  Eligible retailers are not required to stock every eligible food listed below.

Eligible Food Category

Eligible Food Description

Additional Details


Fluid Milk and Fortified Soy Beverage

Fresh milk (whole, 2%, 1%, skim, buttermilk)

Includes all types of fresh cow’s milk and other animal milk (e.g., goat milk).

Fresh flavoured milk

Includes eggnog and all varieties of fresh flavoured milk (e.g., chocolate, strawberry)

Fortified soy beverage

Does not include rice or almond beverages

Fresh Vegetables

fresh vegetables

Does not  include pumpkins

Fresh Fruits

All fresh fruit

Not applicable

Frequently Asked Questions

How did you decide the subsidy rate for each community?

  • Milk prices serve as a general indicator of overall food prices in a community. Milk has a relatively stable selling price that is not prone to major seasonal changes, allowing for comparison of prices between communities. If milk prices are high, typically all other items, including fresh vegetables and fresh fruits, are also high-priced.
  • The higher the average price of milk in a community the higher the subsidy rate we applied for that community.

Can you explain how the retail subsidy works?

  • The AFFIRM subsidy is a weight based subsidy, meaning that the total discount is determined by the weight of the food items purchased. Subsity rates range from 1.20 to 1.60 per kilogram.
  • The amount of subsidy claimed by the retailer is based on the kilograms of eligible foods that have been shipped to the retailer. For example, if a community has a subsidy rate of $1.20/kg and the retailer submits a claim for a shipment that contained 200kg of vegetables, 100kg of fruits, and 50kg of milk they can claim for 350kg.
  • The subsidy rate for each community determines the dollar amount per kilogram that the retailer will receive. So if the community rate is $1.20 per kg, for 350 kg the retailer will receive $420 (350 kg X $1.20).
  • The full subsidy must then be passed on to the customers. For example, if a customer in a community where the subsidy rate is $1.20/ kg buys a 2kg bag of apples they should pay a price that was reduced by $2.40 ($1.20 x 2kg).

How will AFFIRM ensure that the subsidy is being passed on to customers?

  • The Government of Manitoba has developed a robust reporting and monitoring process:
  • Retailers signed formal agreements that set out their responsibilities.
  • Participating retailers are required to submit reports as part of the claims process and to make the dollar savings on eligible food items visible to customers through in-store signage and ‘shelf-talkers’(placed on the grocery store shelf near the product). As well, they must submit to audits of their accounts and records at the request of the province.
  • The province has engaged volunteer Price Checkers to perform regular price checks, of a standard list of eligible foods items, in participating retailers in each community.

Now that AFFIRM is in place why are some fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, still expensive?

  • There are many reasons why some types of fruits and vegetables are still relatively expensive:
  • Many fruits and vegetables experience seasonal changes in pricing. If you are buying a fruit or vegetable that is not in season you will likely pay more for it than you would if you bought it during its peak season (for example, strawberries are often less expensive in the summer).
  • The subsidy is based on weight, so some items, such as herbs and greens (which are relatively light weight) will not receive as big of a discount as heavier items such as potatoes or squash.

What about other communities in Manitoba that have high milk prices?

  • Food prices are often higher outside of major population centres. AFFIRM is specifically directed to non-road access communities which experience some of the highest prices in the province.