Canada looks to develop its first-ever national food policy

In this day and age of crushing human and environmental health challenges relating to food it seems crazy that developed world countries don’t have a comprehensive national food policy. Yet most don’t even attempt this. So it is refreshing to see the Canadian government launching a public consultation to support the development of A Food Policy for Canada.

The Canadian government announced at May 29th that it has set up an online survey at www.canada.ca/food-policy to encourage Canadians to share their input to help shape a national food policy that will cover the entire food system, from farm to fork.

A number of key themes have been identified to help frame the consultation, these are:

  • increasing access to affordable food;
  • improving health and food safety;
  • conserving Canada’s soil, water, and air; and
  • growing more high-quality food.

 A Food Policy for Canada will be a first-of-its-kind for Canada, and is described as: “a new step in the government’s mandate to taking a collaborative and broad-based approach to addressing food-related issues in Canada.”

In addition to the online consultation the government is planning a series of consultation events over the coming months. A further part of the process will be holding A Food Policy for Canada Summit June 22nd-23rd in Ottawa. The Summit will be designed to provide stakeholders, experts, and key policy makers the opportunity to share views on the development of a future Canadian food policy.

Feedback and results from the different consultation platforms will be used to inform future food policy, identify priorities for the government on food-related issues, and to develop a long-term vision as well as identifying actions to take in the short-term.

Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said: “Food plays a critical role in the health and well-being of Canadians, while also having a direct impact on our environment, economy, and communities. Developing this food policy is an exciting opportunity for Canadians to have their say about how government can help address those opportunities and challenges that exist in our food system.”