The Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council


Recognizing that greater collaboration is essential to make meaningful progress on complex and systemic food issues, the Government of Canada created the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council as a central piece of the Food Policy for Canada.

This multi-disciplinary group has the expertise and lived experience to bring diverse social, environmental, health and economic perspectives to the table to help address food system challenges and opportunities of today and into the future.

Role of the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council

The Advisory Council will:

  • report to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • advise on current and emerging issues
  • enable ongoing dialogue on food-related challenges and opportunities
  • share information and best practices
  • assess gaps in policies and data
  • advise on implementation of the Food Policy's four priority action areas to advance progress towards the six priority outcomes

Priorities of the Food Policy for Canada

Four near-term action areas

  1. Help Canadian communities access healthy food
  2. Make Canadian food the top choice at home and abroad
  3. Support food security in Northern and Indigenous communities
  4. Reduce food waste

Six long-term outcomes

  1. Vibrant communities
  2. Increased connections within food systems
  3. Improved food-related health outcomes
  4. Strong Indigenous food systems
  5. Sustainable food practices
  6. Inclusive economic growth

Meetings - Record of Proceedings

  • April 6, 2021

    April 6, 2021 - Record of Proceedings

    Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council WebEx and Teleconference


    • All 23 Council members participated in the second Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (Council) meeting, to discuss the Terms of Reference, develop work plans to make progress towards four priorities identified by Council members (school nutrition, measuring food insecurity, reducing food loss and waste, and food systems approaches to supporting sustainable agriculture), and discuss a potential role for the Council in the UN Food Systems Summit process.
    • The secretariat will revise the Terms of Reference to address additional comments and circulate the document to Council members for ratification via e-mail.
    • Four working groups were launched and identified specific priorities to advance over the coming months. The working group on measuring food insecurity is planning to meet again in one month, with officials from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Statistics Canada, to discuss the Canadian Community Health Survey.
    • Council members expressed support for playing a role in the UN Food Systems Summit process, potentially through a Stage 3 Member State Dialogue to be held at the beginning of June 2021.
    • The Council will plan to meet again in 6 to 8 weeks, to advance working group priorities, report on progress and discuss the approach for participating in the Stage 3 Member State Dialogue.

    1. Terms of Reference

    One Council member reiterated a concern raised at the inaugural meeting and in comments on the draft Terms of Reference (ToR), that there is no budget to support the work of the Council. While the Council was established without authorities for a budget or spending, it does have the support of a secretariat for planning meetings and undertaking other activities. The secretariat indicated that resourcing beyond support provided by the secretariat could be considered once the Council has developed work plans along with the identification of items that may require funding.

    Other Council members proposed the following additional changes to the ToR:

    • Additional sentence in the Objectives section, to indicate that while Council members will be participating as individuals, they will also be liaising with stakeholder groups and may bring these perspectives to the Council discussions.
    • Modify the term of appointment from three years, to between two and three years, to allow for staggered membership renewal.
    • Increase the frequency of Council meetings from 2 times per year (minimum), to 4 times per year.
    • Identify mechanisms for decision-making on issues where there is no consensus – this would be in addition to existing wording in the ToR that indicates varying perspectives and reasons when consensus cannot be reached will be recorded.
    • Provide additional detail on the processes and mechanisms for declaring conflicts of interest (to be developed with input from the Values and Ethics Office).

    The secretariat will circulate the revised ToR to Council members for ratification via e-mail.

    2. Working Groups

    Council members divided into working groups to discuss each group’s scope of work, level of expertise, key deliverables for the short- and longer-term, and to initiate work plans.

    Key outcomes of the discussions are summarized below:

    School Nutrition

    The working group plans to provide advice on the potential role(s) of the federal government in supporting school nutrition, including design principles on a comprehensive program that would include procurement of food, nutrition, food literacy, and connections with the food and agriculture sector. It was requested that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) provide an overview of work down to date to address the Budget 2019 commitment, including engagement with Provinces and Territories. The working group viewed work in school nutrition as potentially informing approaches to nutrition in other institutional settings.

    Measuring Food Insecurity

    This working group identified the need to develop a made-in-Canada framework for measuring food insecurity that is based on annual data collection and reporting, and includes more meaningful indicators / survey questions that would improve the accuracy and consistency in measuring food insecurity, and potentially food sovereignty.  The approach would include a distinctions-based measurement mechanism that would be co-developed with – and for – Indigenous communities. This group requested to meet with Statistics Canada and AAFC officials, to discuss the Canadian Community Health Survey questionnaire relating to food security, and potential scope for changing the survey’s questions, frequency, and opt-out mechanism for provinces and territories.

    Reducing Food Loss and Waste

    This working group agreed the focus of its effort would be to provide advice on policies and harmonized methodologies for measuring food loss and waste past the farm gate. The working group is considering whether the goal should be to ensure surplus food is used for the best purpose, or if the target is to reduce surpluses to zero.

    Food systems approaches to supporting sustainable agriculture

    This working group re-focused the theme and will be developing policy advice to increase the capacity of Canada’s food systems, with particular attention to improving infrastructure.

    3. UN Food Systems Summit

    Council members were supportive of a playing a role in supporting Canada’s participation in the UN Food Systems Summit process, including through:

    • existing and planned Independent dialogues that the organizations members are affiliated with may be hosting
    • participating in Member State dialogues, as well as Independent Dialogues
    • contributing to the Stage 3 (final) Member State Dialogue – potential roles and level of involvement will be further discussed with the Co-Chairs

    A member also raised an opportunity of playing a role after the Summit in September, potentially meeting with Dr. David Nabarro to develop strategies to advance the priorities identified in Canada’s Member State positions put forward at the Pre-Summit in July, and support was received by Council members.

    4. Conclusion

    Council members indicated intent to re-convene in six to eight weeks, towards the end of May or beginning of June. Proposed agenda items include:

    • Presentation from AAFC with support from other departments and agencies on making progress towards the Food Policy for Canada long-term outcome of strong Indigenous food systems. In particular, several Council members have voiced concerns and emphasized the need to increase Indigenous representation on the Council and have requested an update.
    • Discussion of the progress made among working groups, to identify gaps, common threads, and opportunities for alignment and contributions from the broader Council on specific work plans or topics.
    • Stage 3 (final) Member State dialogue.

    Annex A: Participants

    Council Members

    • Jean-François Archambault
    • Sylvie Cloutier
    • Heather Deck
    • Julie Olmstead
    • Evan Fraser
    • Sonny Gray
    • Marcel Groleau
    • Christopher (Chris) Hatch
    • Lynda Kuhn
    • Elizabeth Kwan
    • Joseph LeBlanc
    • Catherine L. Mah
    • Larry McIntosh
    • Rosie Mensah
    • Lori Nikkel
    • Denise Philippe
    • Melana Roberts
    • Mary Robinson
    • Brenda Schoepp
    • Wendy Smith
    • Avni Soma
    • Connor Williamson
    • Gisèle Yasmeen
  • March 4, 2021

    March 4, 2021 - Record of Proceedings

    Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council WebEx and Teleconference


    • Council members and the Minister engaged in a discussion, which focused on priorities for making progress towards achieving the Food Policy for Canada’s vision.
    • Priorities discussed included: making progress to improve food security, including a comprehensive measurement framework; redressing inequity in Canada’s food system; improving environmental, social and economic sustainability along the supply chain; enhancing collaboration across the food system and among levels of government; and, reducing food loss and waste.
    • Council members discussed a first draft of the Terms of Reference as well as approaches to plan their work and provide advice. Members agreed to submit text for the Terms of Reference and for work planning to the Co-Chairs and secretariat, in advance of the next meeting, planned for the beginning of April, 2021.

    1. Welcome and opening

    Minister Bibeau opened the meeting and introduced Co-Chairs Evan Fraser and Sylvie Cloutier. The Co-Chairs provided brief introductory remarks noting the Council’s energy and passion for making positive change and eagerness to provide advice to the Minister on food system priorities.

    2. Minister’s priorities for the Council

    Minister Bibeau’s remarks recognized the leadership and vision among the 23 Council members, including their contributions toward launching the Food Policy in 2019. The Minister noted that Council members were chosen individually, to bring their unique talents, expertise and perspectives to bear in providing advice to make tangible progress towards achieving the Food Policy’s vision.

    The Minister noted that consideration is being given toward increasing Indigenous representation on the Council. In addition, she is engaging directly with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation partners to determine their preferred means of engagement on their priorities, as well as on matters coming before the Council.

    Mandate and objectives

    The Minister outlined a vision for food and agriculture in Canada in supporting the triple bottom line:

    • Seizing opportunities for economic growth
    • Advancing environmental sustainability and resiliency
    • Improving social and health-related outcomes, including food security

    The Minister encouraged the Council to employ systems-based thinking in undertaking activities to:

    • Enable on-going dialogue on food-related challenges and opportunities
    • Provide advice on a results framework, including indicators, to monitor progress
    • Provide advice on the implementation of the Food Policy action areas and long-term outcomes, to improve food-related outcomes in Canada
    • Support efforts to advance the Food Policy vision generally

    The Minister noted that while COVID-19 may have delayed the launch of the Council, it has also underlined the Council’s importance in providing advice to collectively shape a more inclusive and resilient food system that supports sustainable economic growth as well as the health and well-being of Canadians.

    The Minister invited the Council to provide advice to inform Canada’s participation in the UN Food System Summit process and concluded her remarks.

    3. Roundtable and member introductions

    Each Council members introduced themselves and identified a challenge or opportunity where the Council could provide advice. Priority topics included:

    Food security
    • Access to healthy food, especially for racialized, Indigenous, and LGBTQ2 people
    • Establishing a comprehensive, holistic measurement framework, with meaningful targets and indicators that are aligned with Sustainable Development Goal Two (Zero Hunger)
    • Addressing urgent needs to increase affordable, culturally appropriate and safe food in Northern and remote communities
    • Providing better quality of food in healthcare settings
    • School nutrition initiatives to address high rates of food insecurity among children.
    Redressing inequities in the food system
    • Reddressing systemic racism in the food system, including policies, programs and practices
    • Advancing decolonization
    • Support for racialized, Indigenous, youth and LGBTQ2 people to join and contribute to the agriculture and food sector
    Improving environmental, social and economic sustainability along the food chain
    • Identify opportunities to improve sustainability and resilience along the food chain, such as support for regional infrastructure to enhance local food production, especially in Northern and Indigenous communities
    • Adopting traditional knowledge and Indigenous approaches to agriculture
    • Reducing externalized costs of production such as pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation.
    Enhancing collaboration across sectors and levels of government
    • Identify opportunities to align food system policies, and support coherence among federal, provincial and municipal orders of government
    • Reach out to collaborate with sectors, beyond AAFC’s traditional engagement to inform policy and program development to address root causes of food insecurity and other system challenges.
    • Support a whole of government approach to align the Council’s work with federal efforts on Sustainable Development Goals and the Poverty Reduction Strategy
    Reducing food loss and waste
    • Seize opportunities to reduce and divert food waste to improve food system outcomes
    • Develop indicators and a data strategy, for robust, consistent measurement and monitoring across the food system

    4. Minister’s Observations

    The Minister reflected on comments provided by Council members, noting the abundance of strong ideas and creativity. The Minister indicated she looks forward to working with the Council on a number of these priorities, including but not limited to:

    • Developing a comprehensive and meaningful measurement framework
    • Improving the resilience and sustainability of the agriculture and agri-food sector, including local supply chains
    • Addressing key challenges faced by Northern and Indigenous communities (for example, transportation and infrastructure)
    • Addressing key challenges to the empowerment of racialized, Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ people
    • Work towards eliminating the need for food banks by improving food security

    Minister Bibeau thanked Council members for their participation and departed the meeting.

    5. Terms of Reference and Work Planning

    Council members requested a number of changes to the Terms of Reference, including to provisions regarding conflict of interest, representation on the Council and frequency of meetings. Council members agreed to provide language that would address their concerns to the Co-Chairs and secretariat.

    Council members discussed a wide range of mechanisms for advancing their work, including through working groups. The Co-Chairs invited members to submit ideas for the Council’s structure, and priorities to advance over the next six months. The Council agreed that the Terms of Reference and work planning would be discussed at the next meeting.

    6. Conclusion

    The Co-chairs thanked the members for their contributions and concluded the meeting.

    Annex A: Participants

    Council Members

    • Jean-François Archambault
    • Sylvie Cloutier
    • Heather Deck
    • Julie Olmstead
    • Evan Fraser
    • Sonny Gray
    • Marcel Groleau
    • Christopher (Chris) Hatch
    • Lynda Kuhn
    • Elizabeth Kwan
    • Joseph LeBlanc
    • Catherine L. Mah
    • Larry McIntosh
    • Rosie Mensah
    • Lori Nikkel
    • Denise Philippe
    • Melana Roberts
    • Mary Robinson
    • Brenda Schoepp
    • Wendy Smith
    • Avni Soma
    • Connor Williamson
    • Gisèle Yasmeen

Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council Members

Jean-François Archambault


Jean-François Archambault

After studying hotel management at the ITHQ, Jean-François Archambault quickly became a manager in the hotel sector. In 2002, he went in front of leaders in the culinary, food and hotel industry to present the daring idea of recovering surplus food from hotels and caterers in order to feed people in need. This was the birth of La Tablée des Chefs.

Through the organization’s activities and programs, Jean-François socially mobilizes chefs and cooks. He believes in their incredible ability to address the issue of hunger by sharing, among other things, their valuable culinary knowledge. Each year, La Tablée des Chefs feeds more than 1 million people through its food recovery program, in addition to working with more than 4,000 young people with its various culinary training courses. In spring 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing food insecurity that resulted from it, he quickly orchestrated the Solidarity Kitchens initiative, which involved many partners from the food and culinary industry, as well as support from the private sector and governments. In 2020 alone, this initiative will produce more than 2 million meals for donation to the Food Banks of Quebec network.

In 2015, Jean-François received the Meritorious Service Cross from the Governor General of Canada, and in 2018 he received the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec’s Medal for Exceptional Merit and the Hommage Chapeau restaurateurs award from the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ). With his commitment to causes close to his heart, he participated in the development of the Government of Quebec’s 2018–2023 Bio-Food Policy. In 2020, he received the Prix de l’impact social, awarded by the magazine L’Actualité, for the Solidarity Kitchens initiative.

Sylvie Cloutier


Sylvie Cloutier

Sylvie Cloutier is a key player in Quebec's bio-food sector. She has worked in strategic positions in this sector for nearly 20 years and has developed expertise in fields including issues management, negotiations, stakeholder relations and public affairs. She has worked for the Quebec Food Processing Council (CTAQ) since 2003, first as Vice-President, Communications and Public Affairs, and then as President and CEO since 2010. Between 1999 and 2003, Sylvie held the positions of Vice-President, Communications, and Executive Director of the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards from the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors.

Over the years, Sylvie has earned the utmost respect from stakeholders in the Canadian agri-food sector who recognize her dynamism, integrity and ability to rally people around common goals. Sylvie has served on several important boards of directors in the food sector, including those of Aliments du Québec, Éco Entreprises Québec and the Conseil des initiatives pour le progress en alimentation. She sits on the boards of directors of Farm Credit Canada and the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. She also is an executive on the Food Processing Industry Roundtable and a founding member of Food & Beverage Canada. Moreover, she is involved with the funding committee for Tablée des chefs, which is dedicated to helping people in need and developing culinary education among young people.

Prior to her involvement in the food sector, Sylvie worked for the Canadian Space Agency as Acting Director of Communications, for the global public relations company Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada as a strategic advisor, and for the federal government as press officer. Sylvie holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Ottawa.

Heather Deck


Heather Deck

Heather is a Registered Dietitian based in rural Saskatchewan and is currently pursuing a Master's in Health Studies with a focus on public health and health policy. Her professional interests focus on the relationship between food security and health status and how these variables are impacted through the development of food and health policies. Having previously worked in the food industry to developed value added snack foods from locally sourced pulse commodities, Heather has gained experience in applying a food system approach to addressing food-related opportunities and challenges.

Heather has experience developing food safety policies and procedures for low-risk commodities in accordance with the Safe Food for Canadians Act, the US Food and Drug Act and many other North American third-party certification bodies. She also enjoys working with individuals and the public to improve their food and nutrition literacy skills and to increase their knowledge on the benefits of supporting local food systems.

Julie Dickson Olmstead

British Columbia

Julie Dickson Olmstead

As the Managing Director of Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility for Save-On-Foods LP, a division of the Jim Pattison Group headquartered in Langley BC, Julie is a 30-year food industry veteran who holds responsibility for public affairs, corporate responsibility and strategic planning for sustainability, zero waste and environmental leadership projects at Canada's largest privately-held Western-based retail grocery chain.

In addition to her past work in the agency, not-for-profit and public sectors, Julie currently participates in a wide range of strategic food industry initiatives and cross-sectoral projects, including Retail Council of Canada’s Grocery and Pharmacy COVID-19 Response Table and the Canadian Grocer and Manufacturers Collaborative.

Julie is a member of the board of directors of BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation; Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba; Food Banks BC; Encorp Pacific (Return-It) and Canada’s National Zero Waste Council.

An accomplished presenter and accredited adult educator, Julie has a passion for life-long learning, systems-thinking and challenging the status quo. She has a houseful of animals and loves adventure and the outdoors: whether she’s out on the ocean, hiking local trails, or cheering her daughter on at a horse show, she’s grateful for the opportunities her West-Coast lifestyle brings to her family.

Evan Fraser


Evan Fraser

Evan is the director of Arrell Food Institute and a professor of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at the University of Guelph. As a researcher, Evan is a co-author on over 100 academic papers and book chapters about food systems, climate change and food security and has mentored close to 50 graduate students.

A passionate communicator, Evan has written about food systems and food policy for the Globe and Mail, the,,, the Walrus and the Ottawa Citizen. He has also co-authored three books about food and food security, and regularly works to support policy makers in Canada and internationally.

He has helped lead radio documentaries for CBC's Ideas on the future of food and his web video series on "feeding nine billion" has been watched over 500,000 times.

He has self-published a graphic novel called #FoodCrisis and created a card game about global food security that won a gold medal at the International "Serious Play" conference. Today, the videos, the graphic novel and the card game are used in classrooms around the world.

Sonny Gray


Sonny Gray

Industry Leader, Agriculture Developer, & Entrepreneur; Sonny has a keen eye for identifying overlooked opportunities that exist in the North, and turning them into successful business ventures.

Sonny Gray, 40 years old, originally from Eastern Townships, Quebec, where he grew up working Beef, Dairy and Sheep Farms. He has resided in the Yukon for over 17 years now. Owner/Founder of several successful service-related businesses, five years ago Sonny returned to his roots, and with his background in business began farming with territorial food security in mind. Married, with a large family of five growing boys, food and access to healthy locally grown food is near and dear to Sonny's heart.

Currently the CEO of North Star Agriculture Inc. Sonny and his team are leading the charge introducing and developing various innovative solutions to Northern farming barriers. Also serving as the CEO of Flat Creek Farms, Sonny helps supply Yukon Born & Raised Corp. (YBAR Meats) with fresh pork that services the territory. Co-owner of YBAR Meats Sonny and his team own and operate the Yukon's territorially inspected, red meat abattoir, supplying the Yukon's restaurants and grocery stores with local meat. Most recently Sonny and NorthStar Agriculture have been retained by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun to help develop and manage their 320 acre farm in order to achieve self sustainability and true food sovereignty.

  • Seventeen years of entrepreneurial business experience, and eleven years of volunteer board experience
  • Serving second term as President of the Yukon Agriculture Association
  • Past representative on the Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee
  • Serving as a Director representing Food & Beverage on the Tourism Industry Association Yukon

Marcel Groleau


Marcel Groleau

Marcel Groleau, a Dairy producer in Thetford Mines, in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, has been President of the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) since December 2011.

He co-owns La Ferme D.M. Groleau along with his brother Denis. This family farm has a herd with 350 head of Holstein, 200 of which are lactating, and produces a significant portion of the herd’s food on its land. Denis’ son Charles will be the third generation on the farm, which was founded in 1946. In 2000, the Groleau brothers received the Cérès award for excellence at the Salon de l’Agriculture for their great management qualities.

Marcel Groleau’s involvement in the agricultural sector goes far beyond the scope of the UPA presidency. He is also President of UPA Développement international and Vice-President of AgriCord, a group of 13 agri-agencies working on all continents. In addition, he is Co-Chair of the Coalition pour l’exception agricole et alimentaire, a member of the board of directors of the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec and a member of the executive committee of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Marcel was a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement Council, a committee tasked with advising the Canadian government during renegotiations of the Agreement. Finally, he has taken part in numerous missions abroad to follow up on negotiations of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements or within the framework of international meetings of agricultural organizations, in addition to sitting on the audit committee of the World Farmers’ Organization.

Lynda Kuhn


Lynda Kuhn

Lynda Kuhn is a Senior Vice President, Maple Leaf Foods & Chair, Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security ("the Centre"). She joined Maple Leaf in 2002 and has led communications, public affairs and the implementation of a comprehensive sustainability framework that advances the company's vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.

As Chair of the Centre, Lynda works with the staff and board to realize the Centre's goal to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50% by 2030. The Centre focuses its work on advocacy, capacity building, and supporting initiatives that reduce food insecurity and increase reliable access to nourishing, culturally appropriate foods.

Lynda spent her early career supporting the formation and execution of development strategies at the regional and community level, including eight years working with First Nations Mi'kmaq communities in Atlantic Canada to advance bilingual bicultural education, housing, health, and economic development. She also co-founded the Wezesha Education Foundation in Kenya, which enables impoverished young people to become leaders through education.

Lynda lives on an organic farm near Guelph, Ontario with her husband Doug.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University, Halifax and a Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology from McGill University, Montreal. She is a member of the Advisory Board, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Ryerson University.

Elizabeth Kwan


Elizabeth Kwan

Elizabeth Kwan is a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The CLC is the national voice of the labour movement in Canada, representing 3.3 million workers.

Elizabeth will have direct access to the unions affiliated with the CLC representing workers in health care services, the agri-food sector, food processing, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, retailers, food-provision services, as well as the waste disposal and recycling industry.

Elizabeth brings deep knowledge and experience working with equity, marginalized and vulnerable groups—all of whom are highly susceptible to food insecurity. Her social, labour and health policy successes include research on Islamophobia and Indigenous issues, on-going work on precarious and “gig” employment, and universal public pharmacare.

Over the years, Elizabeth has focussed on migrant workers’ rights under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. Recent work includes addressing COVID-19 challenges, the 3-year Agri-food pilot, the Migrant Worker Support Network, and improvements to worker accommodations.

Elizabeth currently serves as an Executive Committee member and a Gender Champion for the SSHRC research project Policy and Practice in Return to Work after Work Injury: Challenging Circumstances and Innovative Solutions; and Co-Chair of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Labour Domestic Advisory Group.

Joseph LeBlanc


Joseph LeBlanc

Dr. Joseph LeBlanc is a life-long Northern Ontarian and member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. Passionate about community health and wellbeing, he has extensive experience in asset-based community development and food system change throughout the region.

Dr. Joseph LeBlanc was appointed the inaugural Associate Dean, Equity and Inclusion, of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), which began July 1, 2020 for a five-year term. Dr. LeBlanc has been NOSM's Director, Indigenous Affairs since October 15, 2018.

Before joining NOSM, he worked for a diverse range of organizations, including academic institutions, charities, non-profits, and Indigenous organizations. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Forest Conservation, an Environmental Management Certificate, and a PhD in Forest Sciences from Lakehead University. Dr. LeBlanc is recognized as a leading expert in Indigenous food systems and community development in Canada. He has also received several awards including a Top 20 under 40 Northwestern Ontario Visionary Award and a Forty under 40 Northern Ontario Business Award.

Catherine L. Mah

Nova Scotia

Catherine Mah

Catherine L. Mah MD FRCPC PhD is Canada Research Chair in Promoting Healthy Populations and Associate Professor in the School of Health Administration at Dalhousie University.

Dr. Mah directs the Food Policy Lab, a multidisciplinary program of research on the environmental and policy determinants of diet and consumption. Her research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

She also holds appointments at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto and Saint Mary's University.

Among her networks of scientific collaborations, she is Chief Investigator for the NHMRC Healthy Stores 2020 trial at Monash University; Associate Investigator in the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health, Deakin University; Atlantic co-lead for FLEdGE, a SSHRC global partnership on sustainable food systems at Wilfrid Laurier University; and founding investigator of the CIHR PROOF food insecurity team at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Mah resides in Atlantic Canada. She is a former member of the Toronto Food Policy Council and founding member of the St. John's Food Policy Council.

Larry McIntosh


Larry McIntosh

Larry McIntosh has been the President and CEO of Peak of the Market for the last 27 years. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Peak sells Canadian vegetables for farms in Manitoba and across Canada. Larry has 35+ years of experience with the fresh produce supply chain, as well as senior leadership roles in grower and retail organizations. He has extensive experience in volunteer leadership as Chair of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), Food and Beverage Manitoba (formerly Manitoba Food Processors) and the Winnipeg and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Winnipeg Harvest Food Bank, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Chambers of Commerce, U.S. Produce Marketing Association, Food Beverage Canada, Prairie Improvement Network and the Agri-Food Network of Manitoba.

Larry has been honoured to receive several awards including Golden Carrot Award for Community Food Champion, Lieutenant Governor's Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community, Agri-Marketer of the Year Award, Top 25 Most Influential People in Produce, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals and the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award. Larry is passionate about ending hunger, promoting good health and reducing food waste.

Lori Nikkel


Lori Nikkel

Lori Nikkel is a visionary leader; a champion of social and environmental justice issues related to food.

As CEO of Second Harvest Lori saw an opportunity to pivot a local food charity that distributed fresh healthy food, into a national food support network, and international thought leader on Perishable Food Recovery. She strategically focused on highlighting the negative impacts food loss has on climate to increase participation and awareness.

Under Lori's leadership in 2020 Second Harvest rescued a record-breaking $64.35 million worth of food, feeding 1.3 million, and diverting 75 million pounds of GHG from the environment. The organization expanded nationally and now supports 4,336 agency programs in 13 provinces and territories.

Her guidance has changed the way Canada manages food loss and waste, authoring The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste, a world first evidence-based research project identifying; where, why, and how much food is lost and wasted across the supply chain.

A favoured media contributor and food rescue expert, Lori is sought after by organizations for her commentary and recommendations. In 2020, Lori addressed the FAO North America, speaking on Second Harvest's work, and was also globally recognized by the United Nations as Canada's Food Hero.

Denise Philippe

British Columbia

Denise Philippe

Denise Philippe is a Senior Policy Advisor with Metro Vancouver and the National Zero Waste Council (NZWC). NZWC is an initiative of Metro Vancouver that works collaboratively with business, government and community to prevent waste in the design, production and use of goods. The Council works Canada-wide, with a BC-based Secretariat. Food loss and waste (FLW) prevention/reduction is one of the Council’s core areas of work - Denise has been the portfolio lead since 2012. She was instrumental in developing the Council’s A Food Loss and Waste Strategy for Canada. She has been the liaison for the Council’s cross-sector Food Working Group, helping deliver projects ranging from a fiscal incentive campaign to knowledge sharing on best before date labelling. She has led collaborative research projects, including the recent Less Food Loss and Waste, Less Packaging Waste.

Denise is a certified professional planner, with a M.Ed. in environmental education. Her background experience ranges from social justice to environmental stewardship - her skill set spans facilitation, engagement, and policy development.

She has worked on issues related to Canada’s food system – sustainable land use through to waste prevention – while at the NZWC, through Metro Vancouver’s sustainable region initiative, and as a planner working on urban food systems.

Denise loves to be outdoors, exploring landscapes with her son.

Melana Roberts


Melana Roberts

Melana Roberts is a federal and municipal food policy strategist and food justice advocate based in Toronto. Committed to building a more equitable food system, Melana brings an anti-racist, intersectional approach to her work and focuses on community driven solutions that democratize food systems governance, prioritizes access and equity, and drives inclusive economic development. Currently undertaking the creation of North America's first municipal Black Food Sovereignty Plan at the City of Toronto, she brings experience in local procurement, student nutrition, urban agriculture and emergency food planning. Melana has worked collaboratively with diverse food actors, volunteering on Boards, Councils, and in international fora. Recently elected as Canada's United Nations Civil Society Delegate for the CPD53, she provided expert advice on global emergency food responses during COVID-19. She has been a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council, former Chair of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, and serves as Chair of Food Secure Canada. Melana is a founding member of the Black Food Sovereignty Alliance, has participated on the Farmers For Climate Solutions' Task Force, and sits on the Leaders Table of the national Food Communities Network – Canada's first municipal food network. Passionate about building resilient regional food economies, she's a Director at Carrot Cache, a philanthropic foundation supporting food systems in Ontario, and has acted as a Grants Advisor to the Ivey Foundation. In 2020, Melana became an Action Canada Fellow, leading policy research to advance sustainability, equity and diversity in Canada's agricultural workforce, and was named a CBC Next 10 Leader, shaping the future of food in Canada.

Mary Robinson

Prince Edward Island

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson is a managing partner of a 6th generation family farm operation, Eric C. Robinson Inc. and its sister company Island Lime and serves on the boards of associated companies PEI Agromart and Mid-Isle Farms. She holds a degree in economics and business and has worked in Canada and in Scotland in all facets of the potato industry (agronomy, food processing, and production).

Outside of running operations for Island Lime and supporting the various facets of the business, Mary plays an active role in industry politics. She joined the PEI Federation of Agriculture board in 2008 and led the Federation as President from 2015 to 2017. After serving on the Canadian Ag HR Council board for seven years, Mary became CAHRC's first female chair in 2017. Mary joined the World Farmers'; Organization's Board of Directors in 2020, and currently serves as the President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Mary has extensive experience in executive and governance roles. Mary was selected by two Ministers of Agriculture and AgriFood Canada to serve on AAFC’s National Program Advisory Council (2015-2017) and the External Expert Panel of the Business Risk Management Program Review (2017) as well as by Federal Minister of Environment to serve on the Sustainable Development Advisory Committee.

Brenda Schoepp

British Columbia

Brenda Schoepp

Brenda Schoepp brings a global perspective on food system leadership and has visited a wide variety of farms and food processing floors around the world. She has a deep appreciation of the importance of visionary food policy and collaborative community led outcomes. In her decades of farming, Brenda developed regenerative practises and served in leadership roles provincially and nationally in agriculture and agri-food, research and animal health.

She was awarded the Nuffield Scholarship in 2012, investigating mentorship programs for women and girls in global agriculture.

In 2019 she earned her Master of Arts in Global Leadership from Royal Roads University, researching Global Food Leadership and completed her FAO courses on Food Security and Rural Community Development.

She is the recipient of honors in leadership, diversity and communication. An awarded author, active advocate for equality and acceptance and an inspiring speaker she fosters her global reach by mentoring young entrepreneurs in agriculture and food, business and education.

Based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, she embraces her humanitarian work locally and internationally with persons who do not have reliable access to resources and food. Brenda enjoys children and youth and nurturing a diverse stakeholder dialogue in food leadership at all levels.

Wendy Smith


Wendy Smith

Wendy Smith is a 5th generation settler from Stoney Creek, Ontario. She has spent the last 28 years working in institutional nutrition services in healthcare for St. Joseph's Health System where her current position is Contract Specialist for their Group Purchasing Organization in the MEALsource Program. MEALsource facilitates contracts for food for 33 healthcare nutrition service operations in Ontario, as well as the Ontario Student Nutrition Program.

For the past decade, Wendy has been involved in several funded initiatives to improve outcomes for the food system in Ontario and for the people it serves. Most recently, she has served as an advisor for the McConnell Family Foundation's Nourish program, a movement towards a healthier, more sustainable future for people and planet in healthcare across Canada. Wendy believes that building bridges across the supply chain is the key to removing barriers to accessing high quality, nutritious food for the people served in an institutional setting.

She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor and holds a Professional Logistician designation.

Avni Soma


Avni Soma

Ms. Avni Soma is a scientist, small business owner and community leader from Canmore, Alberta, with a background in healthcare and over 12 years' experience in the food industry.

Committed to affecting change in local food systems, Avni launched and ran a successful organic, fair trade tea company (2006-2013), before she co-initiated and developed Farm Box (2010-2016) – a social business that has since merged with The Organic Box. Both teams were initial market leaders in the food box delivery model in Alberta. She also helped start Alpine Edible Schoolyards, a not-for-profit enterprise that combines urban farming and educational school gardens. Currently, Avni sits on the Board of the Bow Valley Food Alliance and is involved in creation of a monthly, subsidized box program to address food insecurity issues in the Bow Valley.

A passionate cross-country skier, Avni spends her time on the trails envisioning ways to improve local food systems. She is committed to inspiring meaningful change in her community, and will always bring some Alberta carrots to the table.

Avni holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and a Master of Science in Physiology from the University of Calgary. She is fluent in English, French and Gujarati.

Connor Williamson

British Columbia

Connor Williamson

Connor is a farmer, food system researcher, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. As a fifth-generation farmer, Connor was born into a passion for agriculture and later, a drive to understand and provide solutions to Canada's food system. Connor has researched topics that range from food security in transnational settings, to how supply management can promote localized food systems.

Currently, Connor is a contributing researcher to the SSRHC funded project, 'Four Stories about Food Sovereignty: Transnational crises and local action'. The project seeks to create an enduring community-engaged research network of grassroots food producers, researchers and local producer organizations from four continents. The four settings range from South Africa, Indigenous Colombia and Canada, and refugee camps in Jordan. The overall question of this work is: How are communities to feed themselves? This question has led Connor to focus his research on the LGBTQ+ community, and how this underrepresented population operates in agriculture, what are the barriers they experience, and opportunities for growth.

A budding area of research for Connor is the cannabis industry in Canada. Connor's interest in this field began when the crop was first legalized and later classified as a farm-use on agricultural land reserve land in BC. Connor now examines how communities respond to this crop's introduction into their jurisdiction, how agricultural organizations navigate the recent legalization, and what role cannabis could play for a farm's business diversification.

Connor hopes to bring his passion for a range of topics to this council and to act as an ally and voice to marginalized communities across Canada.

Gisèle Yasmeen

British Columbia / Quebec

Gisèle Yasmeen

Gisèle Yasmeen divides her time between Vancouver and Montréal, has 20 years of leadership experience in knowledge organizations having served as a not-for-profit and federal government executive including Vice-President of Research and Partnerships at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Gisèle brings a deep food systems lens to her work and started working on urban food distribution in both Asia and Canada in the early 1990s. She has published widely including two books, several scholarly articles and provides media commentary in both English and French. She is Executive Director of Food Secure Canada as well senior fellow at the University of British Columbia and an affiliate of McGill's Institute for Global Food Security.

Gisèle has a PhD from the University of British Columbia, an MA from McGill and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Ottawa.

Gisèle has also advised numerous organizations including the National Research Council, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. She is currently a member of the scientific committee of CityFood project at New York University and has also served on five boards of directors of not-for-profit organizations.

Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference


means the Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food and includes anyone authorized to act on the Minister’s behalf.


The purpose of this document is to set out the Terms of Reference for the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (the Council).


The creation of this Council is a central component of the Food Policy for Canada, recognizing that greater collaboration is essential to making meaningful progress on complex and systemic food issues. The Council, through its diverse membership, will bring together expertise from within the food system to discuss and collaborate on issues of public interest and provide advice to the Minister.

The Terms of Reference for the Council were accepted on [date to be inserted after ratification by Council members]. [The Terms of Reference will be considered at the first meeting of the Council].

Guiding principles

Council engagement will be guided by the following principles:

  1. Collegial, free, and open communication and participation
  2. Respect for diverse views, opinions, and perspectives


The Council will support the Food Policy vision in the public interest that All people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food. Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.

The Council will provide strategic and forward thinking advice to the Minister on increasing Canadians’ access to safe and healthy food – including by improving food security, promoting Canadian food and agricultural products, increasing access to culturally diverse food, supporting food sovereignty in northern and Indigenous communities, supporting sustainable food production, and reducing food waste.


The purpose of the Council is to provide the Minister with timely and independent advice on current and emerging issues across the food system through general consensus among members. While Council members are appointed as individuals, an important part of their contribution will be to liaise with stakeholders and bring these needs and interests to Council discussions and recommendations. The Council will explore topics identified by the Minister and/or recommended by Council members. The Council’s activities include, but may not be limited to:

  • enabling on-going dialogue on food-related challenges and opportunities
  • providing advice on a results framework, including indicators, to monitor progress
  • supporting a “whole of government” approach to intersectional issues and approaches to advance the goals of the Food Policy for Canada
  • providing advice on the implementation of the Food Policy, improve food-related outcomes in Canada
  • supporting efforts that advance the Food Policy vision


The Council will report to the Minister.

Secretariat services, including meeting planning, travel and document distribution will be provided by the Food Policy Division at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The secretariat may also make linkages between the work of the Council and Government of Canada food-related policies.

The Director of the Food Policy Division is the primary contact for the secretariat.


Membership will be determined by the Minister. Membership may be periodically adjusted by the Minister, based on advice from the Co-Chairs and the secretariat, to ensure appropriate representation of expertise and experience.

The Council will bring together individuals with diverse experience and knowledge of food system issues and include representation from:

  • Agriculture and Food Sector
  • Academia
  • Non-Profit
  • Public Sector
  • Diverse Communities
  • Under-Represented Groups

Two Co-Chairs will be selected by the Minister from among Council members.


Members are appointed by the Minister for an initial term of 2 or 3 years. To enable a staggered appointment or re-appointment process, members may be invited to extend their tenure for a second term.

Conflict of interest

All Council members shall provide honest and impartial advice and recommendations that are independent and made in good faith. The Council members shall not use their position or any Council information that is not publicly available for personal use, gain, financial or other benefit for themselves or immediate family or any organization with which the member is affiliated. The private interests and/or outside activities of a member of the Council must not impair, or be perceived to impair, the member’s ability to participate in discussions, provide advice or make recommendations with integrity and honesty in the best interests of the Council. Council members must prevent and avoid situations that could give rise to a real, apparent, or potential conflict of interest during their term on the Council.

Process for Disclosure

Upon appointment, and upon receipt of each Council meeting agenda and associated documentation, members, including Co-Chairs, shall immediately report in writing to the Director of the Food Policy Division (the secretariat) any circumstances in which the member perceives a conflict or bias resulting from their role on the Council and any outside interests or activities, including organizational affiliations or other advisory boards. The secretariat will consult with AAFC’s Values and Ethics Office, to determine if a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists and provide advice on the member’s participation in, or recusal from, associated discussions and recommendations. In situations where a conflict of interest is determined to be serious, the member’s participation on the Council may be terminated.

At the beginning of each meeting, the Co-Chairs will remind members of their responsibilities with regard to conflict of interest declarations, and identify any members that will be recused from specific agenda items due to possible conflict of interest. The secretariat will note the recusal in the record of proceedings, and the member shall not discuss the issue with any other member.

Council members should also be aware that participating in Council discussions and recommendations on potential contracts stemming from the work of the Council, may exclude them from these contracting opportunities due to conflict of interest considerations.

In the event that a member is subject to the Value and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, Values and Ethics Code for AAFC, the Conflict of Interest Act, or any other federal policy relating to conflict of interest, the member acknowledges that they remain bound by these provisions and shall comply with all requirements in performing their duties under the Terms of Reference.


It is imperative that Council members are able to share their views freely and openly. It is expected the Council members use good judgment in discussing Council matters with individuals other than Council members, respecting and upholding the integrity of the Council’s role and objectives and the need to protect the confidentiality of individual opinions. Council members should not discuss work of the Council that has not been made public.

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received (unless it has been explicitly characterized as confidential by the Minister, Co-Chairs, Council member, or secretariat), but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

If there is a need for Council members to access sensitive information, this will be done in compliance with AAFC Security policy. The information will be labeled to identify its security level and will be controlled appropriately to ensure it is only used by the Council members only for the purpose for which it was originally distributed, that is consideration of issues, development of recommendations and guidance. In this respect, Council members will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement or any other relevant document required to maintain the integrity of the information.

Security clearance

Members are not required to obtain a security clearance for their role on the Council.

Travel and expenses

AAFC will reimburse proper and reasonably incurred travel, accommodation, and meal expenses that are directly related to a member’s participation in a Council meeting, in accordance with Treasury Board policies and directives.

No further payments, beyond reimbursement of these expenses, will be paid to members.

Resignation from the Council

An individual may resign from service on the Council by providing written notice to the secretariat. The notice of resignation shall be given to the secretariat 14 days prior to the resignation and include the Council member’s effective date of resignation.

Removal from the Council and Code of Conduct

In addition to a situation where a member may be asked to step down as a result of a real, apparent, or perceived conflict of interest, a member may be asked to discontinue their involvement if any of the following is observed:

  • Absence from three or more meetings
  • Does not actively participate or actively disrupts discussions or the work of the Council
  • Conducts themselves in a disrespectful or inappropriate manner
  • Demonstrates racist, sexist or other inappropriate behaviour
  • Not respecting the Chatham House Rule
  • They are no longer suited to serve on the Council

Official languages

AAFC will ensure that the Government of Canada language obligations, determined according to the Official Languages Act, are respected and that that services are provided, and Council members have the right to participate in the official language of their choice.

Responsibility of Council members

Council members will be responsible for:

  • being available and prepared to participate in meetings
  • seeking stakeholder input on matters that advance Council objectives and inform the Minister in the implementation of the Food Policy for Canada
  • participating in any discussions surrounding the preparation of meeting reports, if necessary
  • disclosing in writing to the Director of the Food Policy Division (the secretariat) any circumstances in which they perceive a conflict resulting from their role on the Council and any outside interests or activities, including organizational affiliations or other advisory boards


In addition to all the responsibilities of a member, the Co-Chairs are responsible for the following:

  • At the beginning of each Council meeting, reminding members of their responsibilities regarding conflict of interest declarations, and identifying recusals
  • Developing meeting agendas, in consultation with the secretariat
  • Overseeing and chairing meetings, facilitating discussion among members, and ensuring that members are able to participate in both official languages
  • Ensuring that all members agree with, or note their disagreement with, the advice in any report to the Minister
  • Acting as spokespeople for the Council

Subject-matter experts

Medical, scientific, technical and program, policy, and other subject matter experts, including Black, Indigenous and racialized voices, may be requested to support the work of the Council in a variety of ways, including:

  • preparing background documents such as research summaries on data gaps
  • providing information about government policies and programs
  • providing lived-experience perspectives
  • making presentations, answering questions or providing factual guidance at a Council meeting

Media and communications

Council members are encouraged to engage with their peers on opportunities and challenges within Canada’s food system to ensure a broad range of perspectives informing the Council’s work. However, Council members should not discuss work of the Council that has not been made public.

Council members agree to inform the secretariat should they be approached by the media, or receive a media request. Media spokespersons for the Council are the Co-Chairs. The secretariat will provide guidance and support to Co-Chairs related to all media activities, as required.


The agenda and specific questions and issues for Council discussions will be determined by the Co-Chairs in consultation with the Minister and the secretariat.

Members will receive an email invitation (including virtual meeting and teleconference information), agenda, and meeting materials where feasible, prior to the meeting date.

Upon initial formation, the Council will meet at least four times per year.

In order for a meeting to take place, a quorum is necessary and will be met when a minimum of 50% of members are in attendance.

Meetings will occur virtually when necessary to comply with public health orders and protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Records of proceedings

Members’ advice to the Minister will be captured in records of proceedings. The Council is encouraged to reach a consensus in providing advice whenever possible. When a consensus is not possible, the record of proceeding will reflect the diversity of opinions and/or lack of consensus.

Under certain conditions, to be determined by the Co-Chairs, a voting mechanism may be established to facilitate decision-making on deliverables, reports, or advice prepared by Council members.
In a situation where a member is recused from a Council discussion due to possible conflict of interest, the recusal will be documented in the record of proceedings.
The record of proceedings will be posted on AAFC’s website in both official languages. The Co-Chairs and secretariat will develop a first draft of the record of proceedings, to be reviewed by members prior to publication.

General information on working groups and Council research may be posted on AAFC’s web site in the public interest. In the event that topics discussed are considered confidential by the Council members, the related meeting documents will become part of the official AAFC file. In the event that the Co-Chairs and the Minister believe that the Council would benefit from broader stakeholder input, the meeting or a portion of it meeting could become public.


The secretariat will work with the Minister and the Co-Chairs to review the mandate, activities, Terms of Reference, and relevance of the Council every three years to ensure that it continues to meet the ongoing needs of the Food Policy for Canada.

Access to information

Members acknowledge that records of proceedings, meeting agendas and other records defined in the Access to Information Act, created by or for members in the execution of the Council’s Terms of Reference, constitute records under the control of AAFC, and that the disclosure of such records are at the discretion of AAFC and subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. Should members have questions regarding information about the disclosure of their records, they may contact the Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at