What we heard during our consultations - A Food Policy for Canada

During consultations, we received extensive feedback from Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, on what the key elements of A Food Policy for Canada should be, including a long-term vision, principles and actions to take in the near term.

The Government recognized the importance of hearing from a wide variety of Canadians and stakeholders. Consultations included: organizations representing farmers, fishers, and the food industry; civil society groups, with interests in food security, health, and the environment; academics and other experts; officials with provincial, territorial, and local governments; and Indigenous Representative Organizations. Demographic data from the online survey shows that more than 76 percent of respondents were women; 6.5 percent identified as a person with a disability; 4.6 percent were members of a visible ethno-cultural group; and, 2.1 percent identified as Indigenous.

Strong support emerged throughout the consultations for building a food policy based on the four themes of food security, health and food safety, the environment and economic growth.

The diverse viewpoints we have heard will help us move forward in developing a food policy that reflects the priorities of Canadians.

For more information, view the full report (HTML).

Message from the minister

Minister MacAulay
Minister MacAulay

In Canada, we are fortunate to have the capacity and natural resources to produce an abundance of safe and nutritious food. The decisions we make every day about food have a direct impact on our health, environment, economy, and communities. That is why I am honoured the Prime Minister asked me to work with my colleagues and Canadians to develop A Food Policy for Canada. A first of its kind for the federal government, this policy will seek to bring forward a long-term vision for the economic, social, health, and environmental goals related to food. Its aim is to help coordinate federal actions, supporting progress toward the priorities we have collectively identified when it comes to our food systems. A Food Policy for Canada will strive to improve the lives of all Canadians, including the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Consultations have been at the heart of efforts to develop this policy. In 2017, we reached out from coast to coast to coast, asking people to share their priorities for our food system. Our Government also launched a public online survey in May, and hosted a National Food Policy Summit in June to bring together stakeholders and experts. We then travelled across the country during August and September, holding engagement sessions in six regions to hear the diverse views and ideas of Canadians. We listened to farmers, harvesters, food processors, and consumers, and a broad range of organizations active on food-related issues, including health, food security and the environment. We also supported engagement sessions led by three National Indigenous Representative Organizations – the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Native Women's Association of Canada.

Canadians responded with interest and passion. Close to 45,000 people shared their thoughts on what a food policy should do via the online survey and hundreds participated in face-to-face discussions.

This report brings together what we heard. It will shape our ongoing work on the development of A Food Policy for Canada. I want to thank each participant in our consultations for making your ideas known. This is your policy. We will continue to work together with you towards our shared vision for the future of food in Canada. Importantly, A Food Policy for Canada will help move forward on our Government’s ambitious growth targets for the agricultural sector and the middle class jobs it provides, while ensuring the benefits are shared by everyone and that we respond to the areas of public trust voiced by Canadians in these consultations.

Lawrence MacAulay, PC, MP

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