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Milk can cost $2 more in New Brunswick compared to neighbouring Nova Scotia

The price difference between a four-litre jug of milk at a big-box store in New Brunswick compared to one in Nova Scotia Sunday.
The price difference between a four-litre jug of milk at a big-box store in New Brunswick compared to one in Nova Scotia Sunday. Callum Smith / Global News

While Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are neighbouring provinces with a town on either side of the provincial border, some people are heading to Nova Scotia to purchase milk because of how much cheaper it is.

The cost of four litres of white milk can be up to $2 cheaper, Global News has learned.

Through a tip we received, and information confirmed by New Brunswick’s Farm Products Commission, there’s an approximate 27 per cent difference in milk prices between the Maritime provinces.

The minimum price set for four litres of milk in Nova Scotia is $5.19, while the same size would cost at least $6.61 in New Brunswick, according to the commission.

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Some people living near the border say it’s worth their while to shop in Nova Scotia.

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“I actually buy all my milk over in Nova Scotia, even though I live in New Brunswick,” says shopper Alisa Delaney. “There’s at least two dollars difference some days.”

Going through some stores in both provinces Sunday, Global News found one big box store in Moncton was selling four litres of milk for $7.29 compared to one in Amherst that had a $5.27 price tag on a four-litre jug of milk.

“Nova Scotia’s minimum retail milk prices have not been adjusted in several years,” Robert Shannon, the chairperson of New Brunswick’s Farm Products Commission, said in a statement to a concerned citizen. “Until recently, retailers would not sell milk at the minimum regulated prices. However, market force changes in Nova Scotia have recently led retailers to lower their milk prices closer to the minimum retail price.

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“The price paid to dairy farmers is identical across Canada and is based on a Cost of Production study and the Consumer Price Index,” the statement says. “In N.B., the price paid to dairy processors is largely based on a Processor Returns Study. The Commission feels that this approach manages to balance the interest of dairy farmers, dairy processors and consumers.”

“If I can save a few dollars, I’m gonna save it,” says David Sears, who lives in Sackville, but says he shops for groceries in Nova Scotia approximately twice each week.

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But other people say the hassle isn’t always worth it.

“It’s a difference between the gas, as well trying to get here (Amherst, N.S.) from Sackville (N.B.) so, but if we’re here, and it’s on our way home, then yeah, I’d probably prefer to get it here,” says Anne LePage, a New Brunswick resident.

Meanwhile, others say the price difference was reversed about 10 years ago.

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“I’m actually shocked that prices in Nova Scotia are lower because it used to be that it was cheaper in New Brunswick,” says Janice Landry, a Nova Scotian who shops locally. “People were making one-stop shopping going to New Brunswick, getting everything done, directly impacting my business (gas bar/convenience store) to the point where I had to actually close.”

But with a lack of big grocery stores in Sackville anyway, could this mean trouble for New Brunswick? Some residents say the price discrepancy isn’t fair.

“Personally, I don’t think it makes any sense,” says Andrew Gouchie. “We should all be treated equally, prices for food, gas, anything; it should all come down to the same price.”

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“You’d think because we’re (provinces are) so close, that it would be pretty similar, but I guess not,” acknowledges Wayne Ward.