Following consultation with the food and agriculture industries along with individual Canadians, the federal government has announced the first-ever national food policy for Canada. The policy seeks to address reliable access to healthy food, especially for children, and to reduce food waste, according to a press release.
Canadian food waste tips the scales at more than 11 million metric tons every year — worth nearly $50 billion.
The vision for the food policy, dubbed “Everyone at the table!”, is that all people in Canada be able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food; that Canada’s food system be resilient and innovative, sustain the environment, and support the economy, the government says.
To get there, the Government of Canada announced $134 million through its latest budget to fund “new initiatives to help achieve key objectives.”
Also announced today is the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council. The council will “bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address the challenges of today, as well as the future of Canada’s food system,” according to a press release. A selection process will begin over the summer.
The government also launched a five-year, $50 million Local Food Infrastructure Fund, designed to support community-led projects that improve access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food. Starting August 15, 2019, eligible organizations will be invited to submit an application through the first intake period for non-repayable funding of up to $25,000.
Other Food Policy of Canada initiatives include:
- a new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
- support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
- a challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and food service;
- new funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud – the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products – to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition; and,
- to take the first steps to work alongside provinces and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program.
“The Food Policy for Canada is our roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system for our country. The investments and initiatives in the food policy will contribute to economic growth, better nutrition and food security for all Canadians, ” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.