92 organisations asking Justin Trudeau for his personal leadership on food policy

Saturday, December 8, 2018 - 7:00am


92 national, provincial and local organisations joined Food Secure Canada in asking the Prime Minister to exercise his personal leadership to ensure that food policy serves the public interest. With the food industry and advertising companies pushing back on the Healthy Eating Strategy, and the national food policy being finalised, civil society is raising its voice for a more just, healthy and sustainable food system.

Read the full text of the joint letter below, and the list of signatories. Quebec’s paper of record, Le Devoir, published the letter on December 8, 2018, accompanied by an article by journalist Isabelle Pare. Together we are strong.

The official responses:

Minister of Health response, February 14, 2019

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada response, January 16, 2019


The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.

Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

December 20th, 2018

Dear Prime Minister,

Re: Leadership on Food Policies is Urgent

We are calling for your personal leadership to ensure that the new food policy for Canada builds a more just, healthy and sustainable food system. We are concerned about the delays in the announcement of the new food policy, the adoption and implementation of the Healthy Eating Strategy and the failure of Nutrition North reform.

Food is many things to many people. It is a source of nourishment, an expression of identity and a bridge between cultures, a vital economic sector and a critical contributor to the health of our people, our environment and the stewardship of our natural resources. Food is not simply a commodity but a central aspect of our social, cultural, historical and environmental realities. As such, food policy in the public interest must carefully consider all these aspects, tackling unacceptable levels of poverty and food insecurity (especially among Indigenous peoples, racialized communities and in the North), disastrous diet-related health outcomes and environmental degradation from unsustainable practices.

We are concerned by the influence food industry and advertising companies are seeking to have on the Healthy Eating Strategy, which appears to be wavering on critical public health policies. We urge you to ensure that front of package labeling, restricting marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to kids, and the new Canada Food Guide are swiftly approved, and in the public interest. This will place us in a much better position to finally tackle the deep connection between poor diet and poor health, a policy realm no government can afford to ignore.

In 2015, we celebrated when your mandate letters to the Ministers of Agriculture and Health included the development of a national food policy and several items related to healthy eating. Since then, Food Secure Canada along with thousands of other organizations and citizens participated actively in public consultations, developing and sharing detailed policy analysis and recommendations towards ensuring a more sovereign, equitable, healthy and sustainable food system. The recent What We Heard Report on food policy reflects many of these concerns and approaches.

Just over a month ago, in your hometown of Montreal, hundreds of us gathered for Food Secure Canada’s 10th Assembly, Resetting the Table. We are energised and inspired. Across Canada, the food movement is building a more healthy, just and sustainable food system from the bottom up. Now, we call on you to exercise your leadership, from the top, to deliver A Food Policy for Canada and a Healthy Eating Strategy that champion the interests of all Canadians.

Yours sincerely,

Diana Bronson

Executive Director, Food Secure Canada




Alberta Food Matters

Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention

Association végétarienne de Montréal

BC Association of Farmers' Markets

BC Food Systems Network

Black Creek Community Farm

Bow Valley Food Alliance

Canada Organic Trade Association

Canadian Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (CACPR)

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Canadian Council of Cardiovascular Nurses

Canadian Feed the Children

Chantier de l’économie sociale

Chaire de recherche du Canada Approches communautaires et inégalités de santé

Community Food Centre Hamilton

Community Food Centres Canada

Community Share Food Bank

Concertation Ville-Émard/Côte St-Paul

Corbeille de pain Lac St-Louis

Council of Canadians

Daily Bread Food Bank

Dietitians of Canada

Eastern Ontario Health Unit

Eco-Ethonomics Inc.

Ecology Action Centre


ETC Group

FarmFolk CityFolk Society

Food Banks Canada

Food Matters Manitoba

Food Policy Council for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox-Addington

Food Secure Saskatchewan Network

FoodShare Toronto

Greater Sudbury Food Policy Council

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Green Thumbs Growing Kids

Halifax Mobile Food Market

Heart & Stroke

Hypertension Canada

Incredible Edible Okanagan

Inter Pares

Just Food Ottawa

Justicia for migrant workers

Kids Can Grow

Kluane First Nation

Laboratoire sur l'agriculture urbaine

Le Filon

Loving Spoonful

Montreal Public Health

Moisson Rive-Sud

NFU - National Farmers Union

Native Women’s Association of Canada

Northern Farm Training Institute

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

On sème

Ontario Dietitians in Public Health

Organic Food Council of Manitoba

Ottawa Food Policy Council

Pilot Project for Universal Lunches in Schools Inc

Qajuqturvik Food Centre

Quantum Leaps Ltd

Quantum Leaps Retreats

Real Food for Real Kids

Regroupement des cuisines collectives du Québec

Roots to Harvest

Rusé comme un canard

Show Kids You Care

South Niagara Chapter, Council of Canadians

Sprouting World

Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition and Seeds of Change Surrey

Susan Muir Design

Sustain Ontario

TBuck Suzuki Foundation

The Depot community food centre

The Nourish and Develop Foundation

The Stop Community Food Centre

Toronto Food Policy Council

Toronto Public Health

Toronto Youth Food Policy Council

University of New Brunswick Student Union Food Team

USC Canada

Veterinarians without Borders

Vigilance OGM

Vivre en Ville

Weight Coalition

World Accord – International Development Agency

Yellowknife Farmers Market

York Region Food Network

Y’a QuelQu’un l’aut’bord du mur

Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition


CC           The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

                The Honourable Lawrence A. MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

                The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

                The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services

                Natan Obed, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami