Amazon Prime Loophole Closure Impacts Nunavut Residents

Canada Post has cracked down on a loophole that allowed Nunavut residents to receive free Amazon Prime shipping by altering postal codes. The closure of the loophole means residents now face significant increases in shipping fees, exacerbating food insecurity in the territory.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Amazon Prime Loophole Closure Impacts Nunavut Residents

Amazon Prime Loophole Closure Impacts Nunavut Residents

Nunavut residents are feeling the impact of a recent crackdown by Canada Post on a loophole that allowed them to receive free shipping through Amazon Prime. Amanda Eecherk, a 42-year-old mother from Rankin Inlet, had been using the loophole to affordably stock her pantry with essential items like canned tomatoes, which normally cost $10 each in the remote territory.

The loophole involved altering postal codes in the Amazon checkout process. "Amazon provided the relief that we needed," Eecherk said. "Saving that money, then you knew you had money in the bank account for the gas ... not luxury items, but fresh produce." However, Canada Post has ramped up enforcement of its policy to return items with incorrect addresses in Nunavut, citing the additional processing time and costs involved.

Why this matters: The closure of this loophole has significant implications for food security in Nunavut, where over half of households already struggle to access affordable food. This story highlights the need for policymakers and companies to consider the unique challenges faced by remote communities and to develop solutions that address thesedisparities.

Nunavut faces some of the highest food costs and rates of food insecurity in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, 57% of households in the territory experienced food insecurity in 2017-18. A 2018 food price survey found that Nunavut residents paid more than twice as much as Ottawa shoppers for the same items. Inflation has only worsened the issue, with a cucumber that cost $2.79 a few years ago now selling for $5.99 in Rankin Inlet.

Amazon Prime's free delivery offer applies across Canada, with the exception of remote locations. While customers in Iqaluit qualify, all other communities in Nunavut are excluded. The closure of the postal code loophole means that Eecherk's $100 grocery order on Amazon would now incur an additional $167 in shipping fees.

In response, Krista Matthews, a mental health and crisis response co-ordinator from Cambridge Bay, has started an online petition calling for Amazon Prime to extend its free shipping services to all communities in the North. "I wish we could just show them the realities of the North, so they could maybe find some kind of heart," Matthews said. She believes that access to affordable goods should not be limited by geography and that reasonable shipping costs are crucial for the well-being of Nunavut residents.

The closure of the Amazon Prime shipping loophole has left many Nunavut residents worried about the significant increase in their grocery bills. With food insecurity affecting over half of Nunavut households and prices more than double those in southern cities, the loss of affordable delivery options compounds an already dire situation. As the petition to extend Amazon Prime's free shipping gains traction, it remains to be seen whether the tech giant will heed the call to support communities in the North.

Key Takeaways

  • Canada Post cracks down on Nunavut loophole for free Amazon Prime shipping.
  • Nunavut residents face high food costs and 57% experience food insecurity.
  • Amazon Prime's free delivery excludes most Nunavut communities.
  • Closure of loophole means $167 shipping fee on $100 grocery order.
  • Petition calls for Amazon Prime to extend free shipping to all Nunavut communities.