Food Systems Lens on the Minister of Agriculture’s Mandate Letter

Find here the Minister of Agriculture (Marie-Claude Bibeau)’s mandate letter.

Below, you will find sub-headers noting the priorities related to food systems. We include what we believe to be significant gaps in this letter.

Food system priorities within this mandate include:

  • Immediate priority – develop a sector-specific strategy to address persistent and chronic labour shortages in farming and food processing, and related to this:
    • expand pathways to Permanent Residence for temporary foreign workers
    • strengthen the inspection regime to ensure the health and safety of temporary foreign workers
  • Prioritize measures to support efficiency and climate -resiliency in the agriculture and food sector to strengthen food security and significantly cut agriculture’s environmental footprint, including:
    • with P/T governments, develop the next agricultural policy framework … ensuring climate action and resilience are core, and update business risk management programs
    • a green agricultural plan … increase support to farmers to develop and adopt agricultural management practices to reduce emissions, store carbon in healthy soil and enhance resiliency
    • triple funding for clean tech on farms, including for renewable energy, precision agriculture and energy efficiency
    • work with farmers and stakeholders to reduce methane and fertilizer emissions
    • support food producers who choose alternative pest management approaches that reduce the need for chemical pesticides
  • In support of A Food Policy for Canada, continue to strengthen Canada’s food system by:
  • Working with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and to work toward a national school nutritious meal program; and
  • Creating a No-Waste Food Fund to help all players along the food supply chain to commercialize and adopt ways to eliminate, reduce or repurpose food waste.
  • Protect supply-managed agricultural sectors, and determine full and fair compensation within one year with respect to the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

Gaps identified by Food Secure Canada in this mandate letter include:

  • Realising the right to food, and achieving food security for everyone in Canada to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 by 2030. Tackling food insecurity is not mentioned in this or any other mandate letter.
  • Addressing the concerns that tripling ‘clean tech’ funding risks to hand even greater control of food production to monopolistic technology and agri-business conglomerates, could jeopardise climate goals since digital approaches themselves can be highly energy intensive and displace funding that could support agroecological approaches, and risks failing to protect and value the rights and roles of workers.
  • Balancing the emphasis on sustainable export growth and establishing Canada as a global leader with measures to build resilient local food systems.