C$134.4M going toward ‘whole-of-government approach’
By Jonathan Martin
Canada is implementing its first-ever federal food policy.
The legislation aims to deliver reliable access – especially for youths – to healthy food and to reduce food waste, a government document said.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, along with Jean-Claude Poissant, parliamentary secretary, detailed the policy at Carrefour Alimentaire Centre-Sud in Montreal on Monday.
“Throughout our consultations, thousands of Canadians told us how meaningful the development of a collaborative federal food policy would be,” Poissant said in a prepared statement Monday.
Th government consulted more than 45,000 food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-governmental organizations and community advocates over the course of the policy’s development, which were outlined in a 2017 report by the standing committee on agriculture and agri-food.
The feds initially planned to roll the policy out in late 2018. It was postponed because “many stakeholders with different perspectives are involved” and because of “the complexity of developing a national food policy.”
Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, advised caution.
“A hastily constructed policy will undoubtedly miss key elements that are important both to Canadian society as a whole and to Canadian ag producers,” he said in an Oct. 2017 policy meeting.
Ron Lemaire, president of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, told Farms.com that he “applauds” the new legislation.
“It is a great privilege to have worked closely with our government in forming the groundwork for a successful Food Policy for Canada,” he told Farms.com through email. “CPMA looks forward to continuing in the development and implementation of this policy in order to improve the health and well-being of Canadians and to grow the fresh produce industry.”
Now that the feds have greenlit the food policy, the C$134.4 million in policy funding is coming out of the 2019 federal budget.
The budget outlines the following five-year investments:
· $50 million to develop infrastructure for community-driven local food programs
· $25 million to promote Canadian ag products
· $24.4 million to develop new ways of detecting food fraud
· $15 million for ag production in isolated northern communities
· $20 million to incentivize food-waste reduction
A Canadian food policy advisory council will be created over the summer to oversee the implementation of the new policy. Council members “with expertise and diversity beyond government” will be selected through nomination, a government release said.