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Government of Canada announces the first-ever Food Policy for Canada

17 June 2019, at 4:01pm

The Government of Canada has announced the first food policy for the country, which hopes to reduce waste, feed the impoverished and include minorities.

Responsible for one in eight jobs across the country, Canada's food sector is a powerhouse of the economy, particularly in its rural communities. However, more needs to be done to improve Canada's food system. For example, too many Canadians aren’t able to reliably access enough healthy food. Too many children are learning on empty stomachs while Canada wastes more than 11 million metric tons of food every year, worth nearly $50 billion.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, along with Parliamentary Secretary Jean-Claude Poissant, today joined stakeholders from across the food system at the Carrefour Alimentaire Centre-Sud to launch Canada’s first-ever federal Food Policy.

The Food Policy for Canada is an ambitious initiative, the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada heard from more than 45,000 Canadians, including food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organisations, and community advocates.

The vision for the Food Policy for Canada developed through these consultations is: All people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food. Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.

To realise this vision, the Government of Canada is investing $134 million through Budget 2019, which includes new initiatives to help achieve key objectives.

A central piece of the Food Policy for Canada announced today is the creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council. The Council will bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address the challenges of today, as well as the future of Canada’s food system. An open and transparent process, that includes letters of nomination, will begin over the summer.

Also announced is the launch of a five-year, $50 million Local Food Infrastructure Fund, designed to support community-led projects that improve access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food. Starting August 15, 2019, eligible organisations will be invited to submit an application through the first intake period for non-repayable funding of up to $25,000.

Minister Bibeau also highlighted other Food Policy of Canada initiatives, including:

  • a new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
  • support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
  • a challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and food service;
  • new funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud – the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products – to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition; and
  • to take the first steps to work alongside provinces and not-for-profit organisations towards the creation of a National School Food Program.

The Food Policy for Canada aligns with the objectives of initiatives across the Federal Government, such as the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Heathy Eating Strategy, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, among others.