Close to 45,000 people responded to an online survey and hundreds of people attended in-person meetings last year to weigh in on the topic of a national food policy for Canada. The government has compiled that feedback into a report, entitled “What we heard report – A Food Policy for Canada,” which was released this week.
According to the report, consultations were “designed to elicit views and perspectives of Canadians and stakeholders on the development of the policy, and on their priorities within four themes:
- Increasing access to affordable, nutritious, and safe food;
- Improving health and food safety;
- Conserving our soil, water and air; and,
- Growing more high-quality food.”
Respondents identified several priority areas, including food security for northern and remote communities, an emphasis on soil health and water quality, preservation of agricultural land, and support for young and beginning farmers.
The report also highlights that respondents want food waste addressed, and “continued or increased monitoring”of pesticides and antibiotic use in livestock production.
Early on in the consultation process, it was identified that in order for a national food policy to work, it should be guided by an inclusive vision statement. Drawing on feedback from the National Food Policy Summit, held last June, organizers of the consultation then provided a single draft vision statement to in-person engagement sessions. It reads:
The Canadian food system provides a sustainable food supply so that all people in Canada, no matter where they live, have the ability to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate food, that in turn contributes to their health, and that of our environment and our economy.
While the report does not list specific outcomes, action items, or a timeline for a draft policy, the report does note that the process identified four priorities for the path forward:
- The establishment of new governance bodies;
- Policy and program coherence;
- Access to improved data; and
- Distinctions-based approaches to Indigenous food policy.
Read the full report, here.