[WEBINAR] Effective Lobbying for Food System Transformation

Monday February 5th, 1-2pm EST

2017 was a busy year for food policy, and 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger! From the much anticipated A Food Policy for Canada, to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and Canada’s Food Guide and Healthy Eating Strategy, there will be multiple important opportunities to advocate for policies that create a more just, healthy and sustainable food system.  

With all of these upcoming policies on the table, how can we best engage with the government and Members of Parliament to ensure our voices are heard? Food Secure Canada hosted a webinar featuring a current and former MP as they share their respective tips for effective lobbying.


Key tips for lobbying

Here are some of the lessons that they shared on reaching out to your local MP on food issues that matter to you.

General strategies
  • Just do it - MPs are elected to represent you. They can also help you navigate Parliamentary systems. For more info, check out the Our Commons website.
  • Think of lobbying as part of a broader campaign and collective effort. It’s not just a meeting, but rather the building of a relationship.
  • Tell your personal story - it is more compelling than statistics./li>
  • Petitions: an online petition doesn’t necessarily get the impact you may be looking for, unless it’s a parliamentary petition (of note, 500 signatures on e-petitions require a government response)
Who to approach
  • Know who is in charge of your issue – food could be agriculture, health or another department. Your MP can help you figure out which Minister to approach.
  • Don’t just focus on MPs from the governing party. Influencing the government is important, but you should also look at Parliament as a whole.
Meeting with your MP
  • Lay out a clear agenda for your meeting, e.g., we’d like to spend 10 minutes explaining, then have you respond, then a few minutes for follow-up.
    • Ask for follow-up actions and meetings with your MPs.
    • Make sure you give an oppotunity for the MP to respond, but also don't let them take over the meeting.
  • Find the sweet spot of being prepared but not over-prepared:
    • Present your message in a clear, concise manner.
    • Don’t overwhelm with material, and do give concise points. Know your key messages.

For more information, see the webinar recording at the bottom of this page.



As a resident of the Toronto-Danforth community for nearly 20 years, Julie Dabrusin ran to be the Member of Parliament because she recognized the visible need in our community for proper federal investments in Toronto’s physical and social infrastructure, public transit, and targeted investments to propel greater economic growth. Since assuming her role as a federal representative of our community, Julie has served on the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, which tabled its final report in February 2016. Julie currently serves on the Heritage Committee, where she advocates for those working within Canada’s creative and cultural industries, and on the Committee for Public Safety and National Security. A proponent of active transportation, Julie is also a founding member of the All-Party Bike Caucus and a proud advocate for active and public transportation funding. After launching the Danforth Hunger Squad for Second Harvest, Julie witnessed first-hand the effects of income inequality and how it impedes Canadians’ access to nutritious food. In Ottawa, as Chair of the Liberal Food Policy Caucus and a participant in the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus, Julie is working alongside her colleagues to tackle food insecurity and food-related issues.
Libby Davies has been a social activist for 40 plus years and began as a community organizer in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 1972. She was elected to Vancouver City Council for 5 consecutive terms, 1982-1993. As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East for six consecutive terms, 1997-2015, she became NDP House Leader, (2003-2011) and Deputy Leader (2007-2015). Libby has been an outspoken advocate for human rights, housing, peace, and social justice throughout her political life. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2016. She's is currently writing about political activism and transformative change.


  • Sasha McNicoll, Coalition for Healthy School Food Coordinator and Food Secure Canada


Webinar recording



Webinar date: 
Friday, February 2, 2018 -
1:00pm to 2:00pm