[Press release] A Food Policy for Canada, “Everyone at the Table” — An Important First Step

MONTREAL - June 17, 2019 - Food Secure Canada welcomes the release of the long-awaited ‘Food Policy for Canada: Everyone at the Table’, announced today by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

“Canada needs a more healthy, just and sustainable food system that ensures everyone’s right to food. The very establishment of a federal food policy, with associated budget lines, is an important first step in realizing that vision,” says FSC Executive Director, Gisèle Yasmeen. “Food Secure Canada has been calling for government leaders to develop a joined-up national food policy since our founding in 2001, and we are encouraged that the new Policy takes an integrated approach.” said Yasmeen.

Guided by an ambitious vision, the policy includes the creation of a multi-stakeholder Canadian Food Policy Council, the development of a National School Food Program (involving the not-for profit sector as well as provinces and territories), financial support for local food infrastructure, communities tackling Northern food insecurity, food waste reduction programs, and a pilot project towards permanent residency for immigrant farm workers, among other elements.

These initiatives begin to address key issues identified by the food movement as reflected in the Peoples’ Food Policy for Canada, and echoed by Canadians across the country in the What We Heard food policy consultation report. Today’s policy announcement and its associated budget does not yet have the scale required to bring four million Canadians out of food insecurity, or to address the role of the current industrial food system in diet-related disease and the climate crisis - nor does the announcement recognize or work to strengthen food sovereignty, particularly with respect to Indigenous Peoples - but it is a place to start.

Food Secure Canada has been working actively with others in support of a Canadian Food Policy Council, and welcomes this morning’s announcement of its creation. It will bring stakeholders from across the food system together for policy and program development, as well as definition and monitoring of results. Nominations will be solicited from across Canada in the coming months.

“We are pleased that a Council drawn from across non-profit organizations, academia, health professionals, Indigenous organizations, and agriculture and food industries will help to steer the implementation of the Policy,” said Gisèle Yasmeen. “In order to level the playing field, resources for civil society participation in the Canadian Food Policy Council will be a key criterion for success.”

Melana Roberts, Chair of FSC’s Board of Directors added, “this Policy is an important step in the right direction, yet we recognize it will not fundamentally transform our food system. Building a better food future will continue to require Food Secure Canada, along with our partners and allies, to push for policies, programs, and targets that truly raise the bar - creating a more just, healthy and sustainable food system for all.”

Further analysis by Food Secure Canada, its members and partners, will be released later this week.

 

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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.

 

For media requests:

Gabrielle Spenard-Bernier                         

Communications Coordinator, Food Secure Canada

Mobile: (514) 591-5891

communications@foodsecurecanada.org