Canada has put its first-ever federal food policy into place, with a mandate of providing all Canadians with “access to a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food.”
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and Parliamentary Secretary Jean-Claude Poissant announced the launch of the $134-million policy on Monday in Montreal.
The Food Policy of Canada is the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country, according to a press release, and was created with input from producers and processors; environment, health and food security experts; Indigenous groups; non-government organizations; and community advocates.
The federal government launched an online survey to the public two years ago, for instance, to help provide it with a better understanding of Canadians’ priorities around food-related issues. It also held the Food Policy for Canada Summit in Ottawa in 2017 for stakeholders and policy makers to share their views.
As part of the policy, the government will create a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council to “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.” It will start accepting nominations to the board this 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.
Other initiatives include:
- 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 is our roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system for our country,” said Bibeau in the release. “The investments and initiatives in the food policy will contribute to economic growth, better nutrition and food security for all Canadians.”