Government of Canada announces funding to improve sustainability benchmark for agri-food

News release

February 27, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

More and more people around the world are looking for high-quality, sustainable food products, and food brands need to respond to evolving market access rules to operate and enter new markets. While the agriculture and agri-food sector already contributes so much to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), helping companies break into new markets will help the sector become even more prosperous.

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced over $3.1 million to the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) under the AgriAssurance Program – National Industry Association Component. This program is under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

This funding will be used to make improvements to the National Index on Agri-Food Performance, which acts as a point of reference for companies to declare the sustainability of their practices. CAPI will use the funding to include more partners in refining the tool, fix missing information, and create an upgraded version of the Index.

The Index looks at how sustainable Canada’s farming and food sector is from food production to retail, covering things like how it affects the environment, the quality of food, and how it helps the economy and society. The new version of the Index will help show the agriculture sector is operating in a sustainable way, help Canadian food brands demonstrate their claims, and help consumers make informed choices when purchasing products.


"Consumers around the world are looking for more sustainable products, and I have no doubt that our innovative Canadian farmers can meet that demand. This funding will improve the National Index on Agri-Food Performance, helping the sector take advantage of market opportunities, and backing up our efforts with concrete data. By making sure everyone measures sustainability in the same way, we’re moving closer toward our goals both nationally and globally."

- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute is pleased to be part of a growing coalition of public and private actors working to improve the data and transparency of the agriculture and food system sustainability in Canada. As the Index evolves, so does CAPI and we are pleased to house the Centre as part of our ongoing efforts to advance policy solutions that realize the full potential of Canada’s agriculture and food system."

- Tyler McCann, Managing Director, Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute

"Together with an unprecedented coalition of partners, we will improve and promote the use of Canada's first agri-food sustainability index in the marketplace. In a more demanding food world, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's investment can help the country's agri-food sector to be a global leader in grounding sustainability claims in data."

- David McInnes, Executive Director and Founder, Centre for Agri-Food Benchmarking

Quick facts

  • The AgriAssurance Program – National Industry Association Component, under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, funds national-level projects to help industry develop, verify and integrate assurance systems to address market and regulatory requirements and to enable industry to make credible, meaningful and verifiable claims about the health, safety and quality of Canadian agriculture products.

  • The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is a not-for-profit organization set up in 2004 with the mission to advance public policy on agri-food issues. CAPI works with stakeholders across the agri-food sector, including government and researchers to study complex and interconnected food issues and to advance ideas to address emerging challenges in the sector.

  • The National Index on Agri-Food Performance, Canada’s first agri-food sustainability index, was published in May 2023. This pilot Index was created through a coalition of 142 private-public agri-food partners. The pilot was led by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture with funding support from the AgriAssurance Program.

  • The project aligns with the Guelph Statement’s vision for Canada to be recognized as a world leader in sustainable agriculture and agri-food production and supports the demonstration of trends across various components of sustainability through the four themes of the Index.

Associated links


For media:

Francis Chechile
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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