[PRESS RELEASE] Food Secure Canada welcomes the announcement of the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council

MONTRÉAL, 18 February 2021 – Today, the Government of Canada announced the new Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council, naming both Gisèle Yasmeen, the Executive Director of Food Secure Canada, and food policy expert and food justice advocate Melana Roberts, who is currently the Chair of the Food Secure Canada Board, as members. 

Food Secure Canada (FSC) has long been leading the call for a national council as a tool for diverse perspectives to participate in policy making, especially from civil society as well as from underrepresented voices such as racialized communities, women, and youth. 


“Covid-19 has highlighted the urgent need for all of us to work together to build healthy, sustainable, and just food systems. The Food Policy for Canada is an historic opportunity for horizontal collaboration across both governmental departments and food sectors. The new Advisory Council will allow for consensus building and engagement in order to realise and grow the ambitious but essential and timely vision of the Policy,” says Ms. Yasmeen.


Advocacy for an independent, multi-stakeholder body such as this was solidified in a report jointly released with Food Secure Canada and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Food Policy Governance in 2017, which demonstrated broad support from actors across the food system to work collaboratively for social, environmental, and economic sustainability. 

The Advisory Council will be tasked with advising the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, on the listed priority outcomes of the Food Policy for Canada, which include vibrant communities, strong Indigenous food systems, sustainable food practices, improved health outcomes and inclusive economic development. While led by Minister Bibeau, the policy demands collaboration across government departments, fields of work and disciplines. It is also aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as the commitment to ending hunger by 2030. The Advisory Council will also participate in the development of specific and measurable targets for priority outcomes.


“The Food Policy is a roadmap towards greater accountability and public engagement in food systems governance. We are in desperate need of policy leadership that not only addresses the mounting levels of food insecurity, but also advances racial justice and food sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples, Black communities and racialized groups ‒ who are most disproportionately impacted by gaps in our food system.” says Ms. Roberts, who is actively engaged in supporting community-led food security initiatives in Toronto.


Food Secure Canada understands that there is a parallel process that the government is undertaking with Indigenous communities in a nation-to-nation approach, but emphasizes the need to include greater representation of Indigenous participation on the council. There is also ample opportunity to hear from voices from even more diverse backgrounds, including those from various cultures, those with lived experience in food insecurity, and those working in the adjacent fields such as antipoverty work.

Nonetheless, the creation of the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council has the potential to  encourage meaningful progress on complex issues. Food Secure Canada is committed to engage its members, partners, allies and food movement leadership in this exciting opportunity to shape and guide the implementation of Canada's food policy, and will provide more public commentary as the scope, agenda and terms of reference emerge.


For more information, see the announcement from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada here.

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About Food Secure Canada

Food Secure Canada is a pan-Canadian alliance of organizations and individuals working together to advance food security and food sovereignty through three interlocking goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and sustainable food systems.


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