Important COVID-19 updates for our customers

North West Company Response to Covid-19

Pillar 2Better Quality of Life for our Customers

At A Glance

Wellness-Focused Concept Store a First in the North

Opened the first-of-its-kind wellness hub in Iqaluit, NU, developed in consultation with the Indigenous community, featuring “better-for-you” groceries, full pharmacy, optical services.

Healthier Food Options

North West continued to promote better nutrition and healthier food options to stores in North America through our Health Happy program.

Elder Support

Provided Elders in remote communities with free delivery service during COVID-19 lockdowns.

E-commerce Option

Utilized e-commerce and curbside pickup at all store locations to promote community safety and enhance the customer shopping experience.

Quality of Life Overview

Overview

Between the global COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing pursuit of racial equity and social justice, our communities have faced significant challenges. Throughout the pandemic, we pivoted our business at all retail locations to support communities with essential products and services. Our pandemic response continues to focus on the health and safety of our staff and customers through enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures, requiring face masks, physical distancing and offering curbside pickup and home delivery services in high-risk communities.

We also strive to use our business and philanthropic resources to address systemic disparities in society, seeking to advance equity for all. As a community partner to over 175,000 northern Indigenous Peoples in Canada, North West commits to advocating for truth and understanding about our collective past. We believe inclusive, equitable companies foster resilience and growth in communities, as individuals are able to achieve their full potential.

Serving communities lies at the heart of North West’s community promise, with the goal of making a positive, progressive difference in each community. We aim to create value for communities in many ways, including:

  • Providing convenient access to healthy food products through our vast distribution network
  • Providing meaningful employment and helping develop our workforce through quality jobs, training, education and career paths
  • Contributing to local economic development in markets where we operate to meet customer needs while supporting suppliers, jobs and inclusive economic growth
  • Contributing to community resilience by enhancing food security
  • Supporting local organizations and causes that matter to customers, associates and neighbours in our communities

Read or Download full Sustainability Report >

Commitments, Goals, Performance, and Next Steps

COMMITMENT: Provide reliable access to everyday products and services that are as affordable as possible and that meet the lifestyle needs of our customers.

Goals Action steps taken in 2021
Promote and invest in affordable and accessible healthy food options for customers in our stores.
  1. Advocated for the expansion of the Nutrition North program which, combined with investments made by North West, has resulted in significant price savings for consumers on healthy food despite the fact that the Nutrition North program is not indexed for inflation.
  2. North West continued to promote better nutrition and healthier food options to stores in North America through our Health Happy program.
  3. Alaska Commercial Company (ACC) assembled and delivered
    100,000 boxes of fresh produce, dairy and meat to 115 communities across rural Alaska.
  4. Opened the first wellness hub Inuulisautinut Niuvirvik in Iqaluit, NU, developed through consultations with the Indigenous community to provide healthy grocery and product offerings, a full pharmacy and first-ever optical services.(ACC) assembled and delivered 30,000 boxes of fresh produce and 30,000 boxes of dairy items to 86 communities across rural Alaska.
Enhance the in-store experience for customers through our retail initiatives.
  1. Utilized e-commerce and curbside pickup at all store locations
    to promote community safety and enhance the customer shopping experience.
  2. Provided Elders in remote communities with free delivery service during COVID-19 lockdowns.
  3. Based on community and customer requests, key items were rationed to ensure more customers were able to purchase staple goods.
  4. Partnered with more than 180 suppliers, transporters and community organizations to ensure a reliable supply chain for our customers.
Ensure that Indigenous businesses have equitable access to business development opportunities at North West.
  1. Formalized an Indigenous Procurement Policy to ensure Indigenous businesses have equitable access to business development opportunities at North West.

COMMITMENT: To advocate for policies and programs that enhance the quality of life for our customers.

Goals Action steps taken in 2021
Advocate for improvements to the Nutrition North program and other social programs that impact our operating communities.
  1. Advocated for priority access to essential grocery items and cleaning supplies for northern communities in response to industry-wide shortages at the onset of the pandemic, and in consultation with stakeholders in the North.
  2. Heeded customer demand for greater access to quality health care for northern, remote communities.
  3. With northern Indigenous community support and guidance, we campaigned for higher Nutrition North Canada and seasonal transportation subsidies for a range of food items. This resulted in items becoming more accessible and affordable for our customers in the North.