MONTREAL, June 17, 2019 /CNW/ - Canadian foods are recognized worldwide for the highest standards of quality and food safety. Responsible for one in eight jobs across the country, our food sector is a powerhouse of the economy, particularly in our rural communities. However, more needs to be done to improve our food system. For example, too many Canadians aren't able to reliably access enough healthy food. Too many children are learning on empty stomachs. And we waste 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 organizations, 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 realize 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 organizations 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 organizations 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.
"Everyone at the table!"
"The Food Policy for Canada is our roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system for our country. The investments and initiatives in the food policy will contribute to economic growth, better nutrition and food security for all Canadians."
- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Throughout our consultations, thousands of Canadians told us how meaningful the development of a collaborative federal food policy would be. Now, by working together to deliver the Food Policy for Canada, we can address food challenges across our country and make this vision a reality."
- Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Today we had the opportunity to show Minister Bibeau how just one local organization can make an impact in the wider community. There are hundreds of other groups like ours all across the country whose objectives directly align with the new Food Policy for Canada."
- Marie-Claude Morin-Ouellet, Culinary Education Coordinator, Carrefour Alimentaire Centre-Sud
- The Food Policy for Canada will invest in four short-term action areas:
- helping Canadian communities access healthy food;
- making Canadian food the top choice at home and abroad;
- supporting food security in Northern and Indigenous communities; and
- reducing food waste.
- The Food Policy will also help Canada meet its commitments under the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage a sustainable food system.
Food Policy for Canada
The Food Policy for Canada is a roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system in Canada – one that builds on the Government's ambitious agenda to support the growth of Canada's farmers and food businesses, as well as key federal initiatives like the Heathy Eating Strategy, Canada's Food Guide, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, as well as work on food fraud, food labelling, and food loss and waste, among others.
In addition, foods from Canada are recognized worldwide for the highest standards of quality and food safety.
Responsible for one in eight jobs across the country, Canada's food sector is a powerhouse of the economy, particularly in rural communities.
But more needs to be done to improve our food system. Too many Canadians aren't able to reliably access sufficient amounts of healthy food. Too many children at school are trying to learn on empty stomachs.
And more than 11 million metric tons of food are wasted every year – worth nearly $50 billion.
The issues are complex. The Food Policy is a whole-of-government approach with the collaboration of many different groups to tackle the food issues that matter to Canadians.
Food Policy Investments and Initiatives
The Government of Canada is investing $134.4 million in a Food Policy that will shape a healthier and more prosperous future for Canadian families and communities:
- Local Food Infrastructure Fund ‖ $50 million
To support a wide range of community-led projects that aim to improve access to safe, healthy, and culturally diverse food.
- Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund ‖ $15 million
To support community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training to strengthen Indigenous food systems, and combat significant challenges in accessing healthy food in Canada's North.
- Buy Canadian Promotion Campaign ‖ $25 million
To promote Canadian agricultural products thanks to a new Canada Brand, and through online and in-store Buy Canadian marketing campaigns, in order to increase consumer pride and confidence in Canadian food.
- Reducing Food Waste ‖ $26.3 million
Working with experts to develop a challenge to fund the most innovative food waste reduction proposals in food processing, grocery retail, and food service – as well as leadership by the federal government to cut its own food waste.
- Tackling Food Fraud ‖ $24.4 million
Cracking down on mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products, helping to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition.
- National School Food Program
We are taking the first steps alongside provinces and not-for profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program, to help improve the overall health of our children as they learn, leading to better futures for them, and ultimately for our country.
- Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council
Establishing an advisory body with the expertise and diversity needed to sustain momentum and dialogue on food-related issues that matter to Canadians. The Advisory Council will bring stakeholders and experts together to better understand diverse perspectives, work toward a common understanding of food issues, and facilitate collaborative action.
Letters of Nomination for the Advisory Council will be solicited from organizations across Canada. The Council will likely include a diversity of members from the agriculture and food industry, health professionals, academia, non-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, and will be open to provincial and territorial participation. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will provide final approval of the members on the Council. More information will be available in the coming months.
- The Food Policy will help Canada meet its commitments under the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste and encourage a sustainable food system.
- New and improved federal programs such as the Canada Child Benefit and the top-up to the Guaranteed Income Supplement, are helping the most vulnerable Canadians access healthy food.
Since 2015, 825,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty, and the Government has met its target of reducing poverty by 20% — a full three years ahead of schedule.
Food Policy Consultations
- In 2017, more than 45,000 Canadians across the country shared their ideas and perspectives on how to improve our food system through a series of engagement activities.
- Thousands of Canadians responded to an online survey, with hundreds more attending regional engagement sessions, a National Food Policy Summit, town halls hosted by Members of Parliament, and other community-led engagement events held across the country.
- Consultations were held with organizations representing farmers, fishers, and the food industry; civil society groups with interests in food security, health, and the environment; academics; officials from provincial, territorial, and local governments; and Indigenous organizations and communities.
SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
For further information: Justine Lesage, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, [email protected], Mobile: 613-404-1168; Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 613-773-7972, 1-866-345-7972, [email protected]