Bakers Journal

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Coalition urges creation of national food policy council


December 19, 2017
By Bakers Journal

Ottawa – An alliance of more than 50 food industry, civil society and farming groups is calling on the federal government to create a national food policy council to help implement its national food policy, now under development.

The federal government is developing a food policy that will incorporate the social, environmental and economic aspects of the food system into an integrated policy framework.

Such a council would help stakeholders within the food system to work collaboratively with the government, the alliance said in a joint news release from Food Secure Canada, the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Maple Leaf Foods and the McConnell Foundation. It would provide diverse expertise and evidence-based advice on how to progress toward a food system that promotes a healthier, more equitable, sustainable and prosperous Canada.

The food policy is expected to support Canada’s ambitious agri-food economic growth targets while integrating critical food security, health and safety, and environmental sustainability requirements, the release said.

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The release cited national challenges as food insecurity, high levels of diet-related disease, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food recommended a series of actions to support the development of a national policy. In its report released on Dec. 11, the committee recommended the government create a permanent advisory council consisting of multiple stakeholders.

“I applaud the federal government’s leadership and consultative approach to building a national food policy as the foundation for a more sustainable food system,” said Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer of coalition member Maple Leaf Foods. “But governments can’t do it all – business and civil society must engage and be part of the solution. An inclusive National Food Policy Council is the best way to drive bold action on the strength of evidence and collaboration.”

The ad hoc working group was formed in early 2017 with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Food Secure Canada, Maple Leaf Foods and the McConnell Foundation as founding members. The proposal has garnered support from a broad cross-section of Canadian businesses, non-profits and sectoral organizations in a letter sent to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, the coalition said.

For more information, see The Case for A National Food Policy Council report.