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.
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
Four near-term action areas
- Help Canadian communities access healthy food
- Make Canadian food the top choice at home and abroad
- Support food security in Northern and Indigenous communities
- Reduce food waste
Six long-term outcomes
- Vibrant communities
- Increased connections within food systems
- Improved food-related health outcomes
- Strong Indigenous food systems
- Sustainable food practices
- Inclusive economic growth
Meetings – Record of Proceedings
March 3, 2023
March 3, 2023 – Record of Proceedings
The Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (Council) held its eighth meeting on March 3, 2023, from 1:00 am to 3:30 pm ET. Fourteen of the nineteen Council members were in attendance.
The objective of the meeting was to reflect on the implementation of the Food Policy for Canada to date, and discuss the development of AAFC’s Emergency Response Plan for Food Systems. The Council provided advice and identified opportunities to improve policy and program coherence.
Food Policy for Canada – Policy and program implementation to date
The Food Policy Secretariat delivered a presentation on initiatives launched through the Food Policy for Canada to date, including funding objectives and intended outcomes and share an early assessment of the initiatives as well as the overarching policy.
Members shared their perspectives on implementation gaps, such as food procurement and measures to address food insecurity. They discussed the extent to which addressing food insecurity falls under AAFC’s mandate, and where links can be made to other government departments responsible for income-related supports.
Members noted a gap between the original vision of the Food Policy and implementation across the four near-term action areas. They suggested a range of opportunities to strengthen alignment between the Food Policy and program implementation including the need to make progress on a whole-of-government approach that coordinates actions across departments and agencies. AAFC was noted as the appropriate lead on the Food Policy and its important convening role to invite other departments and agencies to present to the Council was also highlighted.
Members also noted several mechanisms and initiatives that could help make more meaningful progress toward achieving the Food Policy’s vision. Notably, the need to incorporate principles of self-determination and food sovereignty into programming related to Indigenous food systems and the importance of taking a system-wide perspective to better align programming to the Food Policy’s vision.
Emergency Response Plan for Food Systems
AAFC officials presented a draft of the Emergency Response Plan for Food Systems requested as part of the Office of the Auditor General and Standing Committee on Public Accounts’ Report on Protecting Canada’s Food System.
The Council provided advice to ensure that this plan takes a food systems perspective into account. Members noted that it should leverage existing actions to address emergencies at the community and consider different jurisdictional responsibilities, including actions taken at municipal levels. It was suggested that consultations around the Plan incorporate perspectives of those on the ground dealing with emergency situations, including grassroots organizations. One member posed how the Plan will address long-term considerations to build community resilience in addition to reacting to acute emergencies.
The Secretariat updated the Council on feedback received from the first in-person meeting in November and shared updates on the recruitment strategy to add new members to the Council. The Secretariat will orient recruitment to fill current gaps in skills and food systems perspectives, with a specific focus on diversity. Members provided advice to ensure the recruitment process is inclusive and addresses barriers to participation.
November 21 and 22, 2022
November 21 and 22, 2022 – Record of Proceedings
The Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (Council) held its seventh meeting over a day and half in Ottawa on November 21-22, 2022. It was the first hybrid (combination of in-person and virtual) meeting of the Council. Sixteen (13 in-person and 3 virtually) of the 19 Council members attended.
The main objective of the meeting was for the Council to provide advice on key policy considerations for initiatives related to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food's mandate and the Food Policy for Canada, including the Agriculture Labour Strategy, reducing food loss and waste, the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy, school food, and Canada's National Pathways document. Another important objective was discussing Council recruitment and the Council's forward work planning. A facilitator guided the discussion items.
Agriculture Labour Strategy
Members heard an overview of the Agriculture Labour Strategy (AgLS) consultations and some early thinking on potential areas of action. A mandate letter commitment for Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the AgLS will aim to address labour shortages in farming and food processing in the short and long term.
Members raised the urgency of the labour shortage issue, as labour impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt at all levels of the supply chain. Members also shared views and concerns related to the Temporary Foreign Worker program and how it might take a longer-term view to best support workers.
Members suggested the need for the AgLS to bring balance to the labour market. A key area of discussion was how to balance the AgLS's focus on industry perspectives and key considerations for reconciliation, including the colonial role that industry has historically played. Member feedback also included a desire to deepen engagement with Black and Indigenous people.
Members raised points around the topic of automation. They noted the required capital investments, timely maintenance and associated costs as being constraints affecting potential return on investment. Several areas for action were identified by members:
- Develop a one-stop shop to navigate opportunities for skills development
- Create spaces for newcomers to thrive
- Develop innovative ways to attract young people
- Leverage universities (for example, apprenticeship programs)
- Capture data from small farmers
Members expressed interest in having the AgLS on the agenda at a future CFPAC meeting.
Food loss and waste reduction
Previous advice provided by the Council's working group on food loss and waste (FLW) identified measurement and monitoring as a priority to encourage FLW reduction. AAFC officials outlined the importance of a common understanding of FLW for consistent measurement, clear communication, and scoping federal policy and program options. Officials brought forward draft definitions for food loss, food waste, and related terms, seeking feedback from the Council on gaps or inconsistencies, as well as opportunities and barriers for organizations to measure FLW.
Members agreed that the definitional framework is critical and the draft definitions were well received. Some members expressed support for specific elements in the draft definitions, such as the inclusion of both edible and inedible parts of foods, and no significant concerns were raised with the draft definitions.
Regarding measurement, members raised the importance of a harmonized approach to gathering/collecting data (consistent, transparent, and common reporting). They felt there needs to be greater investment into measuring and monitoring, and that data must be tied to reduction targets. Some members noted that measurement may be a burden for some organizations, such as non-profit entities, and expressed the need to incentivize measurement. Other members indicated that mandatory reporting requirements could help make FLW measurement a priority for some types of organizations, such as publically funded institutions.
Beyond the discussion on definitions, members also took the opportunity to share other considerations on FLW reduction:
- Members expressed the importance of taking a broad societal view of FLW reduction, and not focusing solely on the agriculture and food industry or specific parts therein (for example, retail)
- A key theme that emerged from the discussion was the importance of contextualizing FLW within the broader scope of circular food systems
- Members noted the importance of FLW prevention, not simply diversion, and drew linkages to climate impacts and socio-cultural factors related to how food is valued in society
- It was noted that regenerative solutions to FLW as part of circular food systems may bring more opportunities, and one member emphasized the importance of regional/local hubs of activity
- An area of divergence that emerged was the relationship between FLW and food insecurity, with some members seeing linkages through food rescue and redistribution, while others noting that food-based solutions do not address the underlying causes of food insecurity such as poverty and geographical barriers
The Council agreed to regularly discuss various aspects of FLW reduction and provide their diverse food systems' perspectives at future meetings.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, was pleased to meet the Council in person and thanked members for their dedication and commitment. She noted the Council has exceeded expectations for the first year and half and added that Council work has been shared with her colleagues in areas where it was not within AAFC's mandate.
The Minister covered the new approach for Council meetings, with a move away from working groups and now focussing on priority areas and receiving whole of Council advice. She reiterated the importance of having diverse views and diversity in the group, and the need to increase Indigenous representation.
Minister Bibeau highlighted three key areas: food security, environmental sustainability, and farmers' livelihoods. She mentioned that farmers are facing many pressures, including inflation, labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, animal diseases, and we need to consider their mental health in any strategy we develop.
Each member was invited to share their ideas with the Minister including where they see being able to best contribute as members of the Council. Items raised included:
- System-based approaches and a shift toward circularity and greater sustainability
- Breaking down silos and adopting a whole-of-government approach
- Resilience of local food systems and communities
- Procurement of healthier food in schools and other institutions
- Indigenous food sovereignty and reparations to colonization
- Setting a target and addressing food insecurity
- Equity in labour relations
- Opportunities for young entrepreneurs, small- and medium- scale farmers, and marginalized communities
Sustainable Agriculture Strategy
Members heard about the draft Sustainable Agriculture Strategy (SAS), which is proposed as an integrated and coordinated approach to improving the agriculture sector's environmental performance and supporting its long-term vitality. Officials indicated consultation on the SAS will begin soon. A deck was shared highlighting that the SAS will:
- Concentrate on the environmental pillar of sustainability of Canada's food system, within the broader context of social and economic challenges and opportunities in the sector.
- Focus on five priority areas: soil health, climate adaptation and resilience, water, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity.
- Be developed in collaboration with industry, producers, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous Peoples, and other partners.
Council members suggested changing the name of the plan (was presented as Green Agriculture Plan) to broaden it to consider sustainability outcomes. Some members would like to see the timelines accelerated for carbon neutrality.
Members also shared that more focus should be placed on small-medium scale farmers, as many use technology that aligns with SAS principles. Another member felt the whole food system could be better captured, including more emphasis on the people component.
Some felt that engaging in place-based circular systems should be an area to look at more closely, including co-locating where we grow and produce/process food as the shorter distances we transport our food the less the climate impact. Members felt the SAS should be built on regional diversity and strengths and focus on the need to feed Canadians. It was also felt that better connections with local governments would be important; whereby the federal government might play a convening role in making connections, and determining how to assemble the right groups of people at the right time.
Some members raised that the plan needs to ensure it respects Indigenous rights and perhaps have language around innovating technologies of Indigenous peoples. There was also discussion about trade in relation to domestic oriented goals.
Members discussed some potential barriers and felt the agricultural system being driven by economic outcomes, specifically related to distribution, would be a challenge to SAS. To assist those that have a will, but not the means, a suggestion was made to map the innovation ecosystem by creating a central hub of great ideas regarding sustainability work that is being done and making an impact now.
Council will have opportunities for further input at future meetings. The SAS discussion brought the first day of the meeting to a close.
School food update
Members heard an update on the Government of Canada's progress in developing a National School Food Policy. The engagement plan was covered and early feedback received so far was shared including:
- Importance of ensuring no one feels stigmatized for participating in a school food program
- Need for a strong link between school food and nutrition
- The policy should be culturally appropriate and mindful of dietary requirements
- The policy should support food systems and build on what already exists
- Ensure a distinction based approach with Indigenous school food policy and programming
- Respect for provincial and territorial jurisdiction and rights of Indigenous peoples
It was noted that an online consultation was underway in order to hear from all Canadians and the input gathered will inform the development of a pan-Canadian School Food Policy.
Council indicated a desire to:
- Get something in place soon
- Create a strong network
- Look at what exists currently and scale up
- Focus on nutrition
Members agreed on the importance of working closely with the provinces and territories as well as Indigenous partners, with a member indicating that focusing investments on-reserve could address important challenges and lead to a national level model policy and associated programming.
Officials noted they had heard the importance of a policy that establishes clear objectives but with flexibility for implementation, recognizing unique regional contexts across Canada, and the importance of engaging Indigenous partners.
Members were encouraged to let officials know if they are aware of groups/organizations that should be consulted. Council members expressed interest in having more time to discuss school food at future CFPAC meetings.
Canada's National Pathways
Members heard an overview of the status of Canada's National Pathways document, which had been shared in advance, as a follow-up to Canada's participation in the United Nations Food Systems Summit.
Members provided broad support and positive comments on Canada's National Pathways document and many expressed the urgent need for food system transformation in light of recent crises, such as the increased cost-of-living crisis, numerous weather-related disasters, supply chain disruptions and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members highlighted the importance of:
- a whole of government approach to implementation
- support towards strengthening local food systems
- leveraging government procurement to move towards objectives
- pathway on strengthening Indigenous food systems
Member encourage the Pathways document to include:
- an anti-racist lens on the implementation of initiatives
- increased focus on rights-holders
- seed sovereignty
- more detailed language on workers and labour unions
- increased emphasis on circularity in food systems
- improved understanding of food insecurity causes and interventions
- greater understanding of food supply chains/ distribution and food environments towards supporting the accessibility of nutritious food
- new international trade agreements that could impact Canadian food supply
- emphasis on the connection among human, environment and animal health
Members noted the presentation and discussion on Canada's National Pathways Document would have been a great item to kick-off the meeting as it provided an overview of work taking place and plans across the Government of Canada to improve food systems.
Members were thanked for their input and advised that written submissions are welcome provided they are received soon. Once CFPAC feedback is received, AAFC will send to the Minister for approval and submission to the United Nations. The final version will be accessible publically on AAFC and UN websites in early 2023.
Strategic work planning: Forward work plan
The Council discussed their forward work plan for 2023. Overall, members appreciate the new operational structure and anticipate providing food systems-based advice to key initiatives related to the Minister's mandate and the Food Policy for Canada. While some members expressed a desire to take on a higher work load, others noted that this may be a barrier for those with busy schedules. Members discussed finding a balance on the frequency of meetings, indicating interest in more than one in-person meeting each year.
Members wanted to ensure they are being fully utilized to make the most of their collective expertise. Members are leaders in their fields and want to make an impact and see results. Being able to better understand how elements are woven together, across a guiding framework may allow Council to better serve their role.
Regarding content, members indicated that they would appreciate updates on the key files discussed over the course of the two-day meeting, and emphasized that they would like to shape new policies and initiatives including the renewal of the Food Policy for Canada. Some members expressed concern that food insecurity was not prominently featured in the forward work plan. Some members noted that the Council could engage more on issues related to northern and Indigenous food security.
Membership Recruitment and Strategic Planning
The AAFC secretariat is developing a strategy for new member recruitment on the Council to fill current and future vacancies. The secretariat presented a proposed strategy and timeline to recruit members in a manner that is open, transparent and results in a Council that represents the diversity of Canada's food systems.
The Council provided advice on the membership strategy, including suggestions on how best to complement existing membership. The Council indicated that it is important to include members with food systems expertise, representation from individuals with lived experience of food insecurity, the aquatic sector, digital technologies, and other areas. Current members' terms ought to overlap with new members to ensure a smooth transition.
April 25, 2022
April 25, 2022 – Record of Proceedings
The Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (Council) held its sixth meeting on April 25, 2022, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. Fourteen of the 20 Council members attended with Minister Bibeau.
The objective of this meeting was for Minister Bibeau to receive Working Group recommendations on reducing food loss and waste and supporting sustainable agriculture, and to engage in a discussion on the recommendations with the Council.
Reducing food loss and waste
The Working Group Lead on Reducing Food Loss and Waste provided recommendations to reach global reduction targets set by the United Nations:
- In collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), mandate globally and domestically harmonized, cross-sector food loss and waste monitoring tied to a reduction outcome. This would include exploring the potential of carbon markets to spur innovation, drive down emissions and address food loss and waste, and setting up an employment program and market tools to support food loss and waste reduction.
- In collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada, re-open the Food Labelling Modernization Initiative to remove or replace date labels with alternative wording, and improve guidance on where and when to apply date labels that more clearly reflect human health and food loss and waste considerations.
The Minister agreed on the importance of establishing a baseline and setting targets to reduce food loss and waste, noting that the Council brings an important food systems perspective to multiple departments' work. She will continue to work with officials at CFIA and ECCC to share the Working Group's advice and noted that the recommendations may also support the ongoing Food Waste Reduction Challenge and the development of the No-Waste Food Fund.
Council members discussed additional topics, including emerging work on carbon offsets and the unique food loss and waste context of northern and remote communities, and the disposal of edible food by retailers that could otherwise be provided to people in need.
Supporting sustainable agriculture
The Working Group Lead on Supporting Sustainable Agriculture presented the following recommendations for AAFC to support 4 dimensions of agricultural sustainability, including climate, labour, rural development and data:
- In partnership with ECCC, engage in three areas of work on carbon credits: launch a comprehensive information campaign that defines the roles of actors in the private and public sale of carbon credits; create a task force to investigate the impacts of foreign ownership of carbon credits on land used for food production; and address the risks of implementing Net Zero and carbon credit purchases in terms of risk for financial institutions including Farm Credit Canada.
- Include member of the Council on the task force informing the Agricultural Labour Strategy.
- Strike a task force to investigate potential models for regional food systems hubs with the Minister of Rural Economic Development.
- Establish a task force in collaboration with food system partners to determine statistical needs to be presented to Statistics Canada.
The Minister thanked the Working Group members for their advice, indicating that it would inform her work and that of her Cabinet colleagues to deliver on government priorities and support the advancement of her Mandate Letter commitments, including the Agricultural Labour Strategy and Green Agricultural Plan. The Minister also enquired if the Council had advice on successful regional food hubs that could serve as potential models. The Group Lead indicated that a food processing hub has been established in British Columbia and that it would be important to broaden the model to include other parts of the agriculture and food sector and prioritize sustainability.
Minister's closing remarks
The Minister thanked all Council members for their dedication and commitment in developing advice on 4 priority areas, reflecting diverse perspectives in the recommendations. She noted the Council has exceeded expectations for the first year, and that the advice reflects the complex and interconnected social, health, environmental and economic facets of Canada's food systems, and underscores the importance of collaboration.
In recognition of the important insights Council members have raised on systemic barriers to participation, the Minister offered a one-time honorarium to those who faced barriers in participating on the Council and who have devoted significant personal time to advance an ambitious work plan. In closing, the Minister noted that the Council will be engaged in the future on options for a National School Food Policy, a No-Waste Food Fund and a Green Agricultural Plan, and that she would continue to work with Ministers Gould and Hussen towards reducing food insecurity.
In response to a Council member's concern that dire food insecurity in Indigenous and remote communities had not been addressed in the discussion, the Minister committed to visiting the Council member's community to better understand challenges being faced and agreed on the importance of working with Minister Hajdu and other Cabinet colleagues.
Next steps for working groups to finalize advice
A decision was reached for the Secretariat to continue to work with other implicated government departments and agencies to confirm facts used to develop the advice, and compile the 4 reports from the Working Groups for final comments and endorsement. The Secretariat will record any divergent views and ensure they are reflected in the final report. The Co-Chairs will draft a cover letter for the Minister highlighting key themes and linkages that have surfaced.
Members expressed support to advance Indigenous food systems issues on Council, noting that more work could be done to centre issues of Indigenous food security, reconciliation and challenges facing food systems in northern and remote communities.
Other Council business
AAFC officials outlined plans to obtain the Council's feedback on work to date, future activities, and advice on an open, transparent and accessible process to renew Council membership and ensure diversity and inclusion.
To allow for more direct engagement to share food-system based perspectives on policy or program initiatives among Council members and government officials, the Secretariat indicated a forward agenda to guide the Council's work ahead that aligns with the direction provided by the Minister will be developed with the Co-Chairs.
One of the Co-Chairs raised the potential for a face-to-face meeting with the full Council and Dr. David Nabarro, Senior Advisor for the UN Food Systems Summit Dialogues, in mid-October, in Toronto.
January 18, 2022
January 18, 2022 - Record of Proceedings
The Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (Council) held its fifth meeting on January 18, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Nineteen of the twenty-one members of the Council attended, along with Minister Bibeau and Minister Gould. AAFC and ESDC officials also observed the discussion with the Ministers, followed by AAFC providing secretariat support for the discussion of Council business upon the departure of the Ministers.
The objectives of this meeting were for Minister Bibeau and Minister Gould to receive the Working Group recommendations on school nutrition and reducing food insecurity and to engage in a discussion with the Council on the recommendations. Working Group recommendations on reducing food loss and waste and supporting sustainable agriculture and agri-food will be presented to the Minister at a subsequent meeting. The secretariat will work with Co-Chairs to obtain the full Council's endorsement on the Working Group's recommendations and deliver final advice to the Minister.
The Working Group Lead on School Nutrition presented the following recommendations:
- Enable provinces and territories (P/T) to set clear and robust standards for quality and access in delivery of programming under their oversight
- Where federal funding is allocated to individual programs in the form of grants, it should also be focused on quality and equity, as well as elevating the profile of local knowledge on school food
- Develop a multilateral conflict of interest agreement for declaring and managing real, perceived, and potential conflicts of interest in school food policy and programs
- Develop a multilateral school food and nutrition framework with monitoring of quality and performance in school food and nutrition programs under P/T oversight, toward greater inter-jurisdictional harmonization and equity
- Develop an Indigenous school food and nutrition framework to establish common principles inclusive of rights, reconciliation, and Crown-Indigenous service delivery responsibilities
Minister Gould and Minister Bibeau expressed appreciation for the Working Groups' recommendations and agreed to the importance and urgency of the issue of school food and nutrition in Canada, noting the priority in their respective mandate letters. Both Ministers sought Council advice on mechanisms/delivery options and how to balance a federal role that would enable community-based approaches and recognize unique regional contexts. Minister Gould asked for examples of leading P/T or organizational initiatives that are making positive progress on school food and nutrition.
The Working Group Lead responded with examples of stakeholder consultations they conducted to understand the landscape of school food and nutrition in Canada, noting that context is crucial to understand each specific initiative's success.
Council members stressed the importance of meaningfully engaging Indigenous organizations and communities, recognizing and building upon existing networks related to labour and local procurement. One Council member expressed concern that the charity-based approach of the Emergency Food Security Fund resulted in Indigenous communities not adequately being included in the roll-out of the program. One Council member stressed the importance of immediate action and increased need to support school food programs due to the impacts of the pandemic.
Reducing food insecurity
The Working Group Lead on Reducing Food Insecurity presented 3 recommendations:
- Set a target to reduce food insecurity by 50% by 2030, based on the Canadian Income Survey's 2019 baseline. Further, seek to eliminate severe food insecurity.
- Alleviate the disproportionate impact of food insecurity on Black and Indigenous people.
- Enhance measurement of food insecurity in Canada noting the comprehensive report that was submitted with recommendations on measurement and reporting.
Minister Bibeau expressed appreciation for the Working Group's thorough report and advice on this challenging issue. Reflecting on the need to make sustainable, structural change for meaningful progress, Minister Bibeau asked the Council how best to move forward to roll out federal programming, and for the Council's perspectives on its role in the near and longer-term, on the issue.
Council members indicated that a robust measurement framework would help build the evidence base required for improved food insecurity programming. Council members asked for clarification on government commitments towards improving food security and addressing food insecurity, and regarding Canada's commitment to SDG 2: Zero Hunger, and how this would be achieved.
Council members also raised questions about their role and objectives for future meetings with the Minister, indicating a desire for more in-depth engagement on their advice. Minister Bibeau commended the Council members for their impressive progress to date, noting that the level of ambition and work plans have exceeded expectations. The Minister also noted the Council's broad mandate and the diversity of expertise and experience of Council members, and expressed desire to understand the breadth and depth of perspectives from the Council.
Council members continued a discussion on the role of the Council and how to prepare for future meetings. Some members expressed desire to engage with the Minister on future objectives, including progress toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One Co-Chair noted that the Council has done significant and meaningful work in a short time and that the Council could be organized differently going forward. Council members indicated that there are common themes across Working Groups that could be explored further (for example, issues relating to equity, supply chains). Some Council members expressed interest in establishing a Working Group on Black and Indigenous priorities.
The Secretariat noted previous concerns to address representation and remuneration on the Council and indicated that the department is working to respond to these issues. The Secretariat also responded to a previous request from a Council member to comment on the Canada's National Pathway document for the UN Food Systems Summit, and indicated that the department is considering consultations and this may present a potential future area of focus for the Council.
November 10, 2021
November 10, 2021 - Record of Proceedings
Eighteen of 21 members participated in the fourth Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC) meeting on November 10 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET.
The primary objectives of this meeting were for Council members to update and share feedback on the working groups' progress and to discuss next steps/approaches and timelines for providing advice to the Minister. The secretariat provided an update on advancing requests from Council members seeking remuneration and increasing representation on the Council, as well as a options for membership renewal over the longer term.
Working group updates
Each working group provided an overview of their activities and progress to date and highlighted main findings.
The working group summarized engagement activities that included a meeting with selected stakeholders and ESDC officials, for oral deputations on June 22, and the group's outreach to a broader list of stakeholders for written submissions over the summer. The working group identified three potential approaches for consideration:
- Targeted – targeting specific populations or regions at greatest need, with comprehensive programming (that is, not means-tested)
- Universal – universal coverage but accordingly with resource constraints with limited design, cost-sharing, specific access provisions
- Standard-setting – Federal nodal role for information collection and provision, establishing commonly agreed-upon standards (for example, for nutrition, sustainability, etc.) that provinces and territories (PTs), municipalities and local school boards would use in programming and reporting, and consistent with other policy alignments in this area at federal level (for example, Healthy Eating Strategy, nutrient profiling).
- Standard-setting could be implemented as a stand-alone item, or integrating standards – to varying degrees – into either targeted or universal options.
While the Council members preferred an approach that would be both comprehensive in terms of programming and universal in reach, it was noted that a role for the working group could be to develop options for either a targeted or universal approach that a wide range of stakeholders could get behind. The issue of policy synergies were raised including recent child care policy developments, as well as questions about the parameters/criteria by which targeting would be done. The importance of rights holders versus stakeholders was raised when considering the existing federal service delivery role and working with Indigenous partners.
Reducing food insecurity
The working group has reached out to 25 experts in food insecurity data and measurement, including senior officials at Statistics Canada, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), and AAFC. The group has also written to Minister Bibeau, recommending that Canada adopt a target to reduce food insecurity by 50% by 2030 and to eliminate hunger. The group expressed support for including this target as a commitment in Canada's National Pathways Document, contributing to the UN Food System Summit process.
The group has drafted a preliminary report, and is in the process of considering feedback received from stakeholders and government officials, including from AAFC, ISC and Statistics Canada. Preliminary recommendations focus on improving:
- supporting Indigenous-led approaches to measurement
- accessibility and availability of data (for example, more illustrative, easier to unpack and derive insights)
Reducing food loss and waste
The working group's focus has shifted from providing advice on methodology and measurement, to making recommendations on actions, incentives and a mandated approach to measurement that would include a federal job creation program, providing funding for companies to establish food loss and waste reduction targets, and hire auditors and other experts to implement solutions; additional funding would be tied to the success of meeting reduction targets. The group is also proposing a recommendation to re-open the Federal Food Labelling Modernization initiative, to remove date labels or replace date labels with consumer-facing wording in support of shelf-life extensions. The working group's recommendations were circulated prior to the meeting.
This group noted the success of measurement and reduction programs used by BC hydro, and the province of British Columbia as worth considering on a national scale. Finally, the group identified interest in a Canadian carbon market, as a mechanism to introduce incentives to drive down waste (for example, linking carbon markets to agricultural and economic activity), drawing on best practices in other jurisdictions (for example, the European Union, and State of California).
The working group provided an overview of 6 recommendations, which had been summarized and circulated to members prior to the meeting. The recommendations are to:
- define climate and carbon credit targets, as well as the legal rights of landowners, lease operators and carbon purchasers
- clarify the role of agriculture in the Canada Water Act, and adopt a one-government approach to protecting Canada's food production through an agriculture and food water policy
- establish a tripartite task force (government, employers, labour) to develop a broader labour force strategy and implementation plan
- collaborate with rural economic development agencies to support shorter community supply chains (for example, new information hub, funding for commercialization initiatives through Farm Credit Canada, financing for food processors)
- expand the Farm Credit Canada Women Entrepreneur Fund to projects that would add value to commodities, expand a food related business or create a marketing network
Approaches for providing advice / Next steps
Council members expressed interest in learning more about the new government's priorities for making progress on the Food Policy for Canada's vision – through the upcoming Speech from the Throne (anticipated November 22) and mandate letters – and potentially meeting with the Minister to provide their advice verbally in December.
Members also expressed interest in convening virtual meetings, starting in the new year, with senior officials from AAFC and other government departments (for example, ESDC, ISC, Statistics Canada), to discuss food system priorities.
Working groups agreed to develop two-pagers on their recommendations, for the Minister's consideration. The secretariat will work with the Co-Chairs to provide a template to ensure consistency in content, and the secretariat will coordinate to package the advice ensuring a common look and feel from the full Council.
While some Council members expressed interest in convening a future in-person meeting, others' preference was for continued virtual participation, or a hybrid model that would allow in-person and virtual participation.
One member expressed interest in reviewing a draft of Canada's National Pathways Document being developed as part of Canada's contribution to the UN Food System Summit process. The secretariat indicated that the Council's active engagement through the dialogue process has contributed greatly to this work. AAFC will be developing options to engage stakeholders further and it is anticipated that the Council could continue to play an important role.
Remuneration / Representation and membership
The secretariat advised that they are in the process of consulting on options to provide compensation on an interim basis as well as exploring options to provide remuneration on a long-term and ongoing basis.
The secretariat noted past concerns raised by Council members to address current underrepresentation in the short-term and acknowledged that nominations were received from Council members on potential candidates. The secretariat also indicated that some Council members have expressed concern that this approach would lack transparency, recommending an open and transparent process. The secretariat indicated it is planning a process for renewal over the longer term that includes a public call for applications similar to the open process used to solicit interest in Council membership initially. Views from Council members were sought on a path forward with general consensus that an open and transparent process is preferred but concern was expressed in terms of the length of time this might require.
May 31, 2021
May 31, 2021 - Record of Proceedings
Twenty of 22 Council members participated in the third Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council (CFPAC) meeting on May 31, from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The objectives of this meeting included:
- Working groups to discuss the areas of focus they have identified and share progress, and receive feedback from the Minister
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) to provide an overview of initiatives to make progress towards strong Indigenous food systems, and discuss with Council members
- Discuss AAFC's proposed approach to food security funding announced in Budget 2021, and receive initial feedback from Council members (Council members were asked to provide written feedback, via the Co-Chairs, to AAFC)
- Discuss AAFC's approach for the final Stage 3 Member State Dialogue and linkages with the Council's work plans as well as opportunities for the Council to engage
- Invite additional nominations for Council membership to fill a recent resignation, and increase Indigenous representation
- Plan for the next CFPAC meeting.
A summary of the discussion is provided below.
Working group updates
Each working group lead provided an overview of their area of focus, work plans and proposed deliverables for providing advice to the Minister in September. Minister Bibeau shared observations on the updates.
The working group outlined plans for providing advice to the Minister on the potential role(s) for the federal government in supporting school nutrition, including design principles. The group plans to base their advice on evidence and stakeholder engagement and is planning on requesting written submissions and holding a webinar on June 22, with two panel discussions followed by a Question and Answer period with a group of invited stakeholders. AAFC has been asked to provide the virtual platform (WebEx, with simultaneous interpretation) and other secretariat services to support the event.
Minister Bibeau reflected on funding provided for food security under the pandemic and the Budget 2021 commitment for national child care programming, and asked the group to consider – in addition to their proposal for a comprehensive school nutrition national program – policies or guiding principles that would help target children who are most at risk of experiencing food insecurity, and a phased approach that could be explored in collaboration with provinces and territories.
Reducing food insecurity
The working group noted that Canada has not made progress towards reducing food insecurity, and that the pandemic has worsened the problem with over 1 million Canadians reporting they have skipped meals due to inability to access sufficient food. The group noted these numbers are conservative as they exclude homeless and Indigenous (on reserve) populations. This group is working to enhance data collection, measurement and reporting on food insecurity and has met with Statistics Canada (STC) to better understand the data, strengths and gaps. The working group plans to develop advice for enhancing reporting on food security; increased data collection; and improvements to the measurement of food insecurity in and with Indigenous communities. The group will propose a target of reducing food insecurity by 50%, by 2030, and develop a roadmap with proposed structural solutions to achieve the target. They would also like to work with AAFC on participation in the UN Food Systems Summit (FSS) process related to reducing food insecurity.
Minister Bibeau expressed interest in the group's work and collaboration with STC and other government departments, indicating she looks forward to hearing the group's advice. She asked that the working group consider how best to work with organizations to distribute funds going forward.
Reducing food loss and waste
The working group highlighted 2 areas of focus for advice: developing a consistent, meaningful monitoring framework; and, date labelling regulations and communication. The group's advice will be developed in consultation with federal departments and agencies (for example, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)) and diverse actors across the supply chain with the view to ensuring consistent understanding of definitions and measurement, and mitigating unintended consequences of proposed initiatives on other areas of the food system.
Minister Bibeau expressed appreciation for the group's work on measurement and monitoring, and interest in their discussions with CFIA regarding date labelling and improving consumer education on the meaning of date labels. The Minister also mentioned that it will be important to get everyone along supply chain to collaborate in addressing food loss and waste.
Supporting sustainable agriculture
The working group outlined the approach for advice would be based on an umbrella framework for a Canadian capacity building strategy, with each member bringing forward recommendations reflective of their area of expertise. The group intends to focus on: labour, land access (and the connection with food security), greenhouse gas reduction, biodiversity and infrastructure. This group is supportive of the agri-food sustainability index initiative, and plans to engage with the lead in developing their advice to the Minister.
Minister Bibeau expressed appreciation for farmers' stewardship of land and resources, indicating that with the acceleration of climate change, they are among the first to feel the impacts. She highlighted that Canadian and international consumers are increasingly demanding sustainably produced food and that this is an opportunity to highlight to consumers and build upon the sector's environmentally responsible practices.
Minister Bibeau departed the meeting at the conclusion of her remarks.
Strong Indigenous food systems
AAFC provided introductory remarks and ISC and CIRNAC discussed initiatives their departments are undertaking to make progress towards achieving the Food Policy long-term outcome of Strong Indigenous Food Systems, as well as pandemic response funding distributed through direct allocations to First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nation groups.
Working with Indigenous partners, CIRNAC's Nutrition North Canada (NNC) co-developed the Harvester Support Grant (HSG) to support culturally important, traditional food systems through a flexible, multi-year funding approach, in which communities have freedom and control to invest in community priorities, with minimal reporting burden. The grant recognizes the importance of traditions, as well as hunting, harvesting, and food sharing, to the health and well-being of Indigenous people and communities. As part of the innovative approach, a women's council that reviews grant proposals, also providing wider advice on the NNC program. This council is a consensus driven decision making body taking inspiration from traditional roles of women in allocating resources in Indigenous communities.
Council members asked if HSG provides support to help Indigenous communities leapfrog to new practices that would support community resilience (for example, artificial intelligence, smart farming practices for 12 months farming). CIRNAC officials responded that the flexibility of the grant permits small scale backyard gardening as well as larger scale efforts, and highlighted the potential for the grant to link with other government programs like skills and employment training. They also indicated that funding announced in Budget 2021 will focus on expanding community-led initiatives.
Council members were also interested in:
- Bringing to the attention of CIRNAC officials a detailed evaluation of a Tides Canada pilot project that paid a hunter an annual salary to hunt on behalf of the community.
- Which elements of the programs highlighted by AAFC, ISC, CIRNAC specifically target building strong Indigenous food systems, and making systemic change? Officials from CIRNAC responded that they engage directly with Indigenous communities and are making adjustments to their programming based on what they learn. The HSG approach is to support mechanisms communities have developed over the past hundreds of years for resilience, and to recognize that Indigenous food systems are more complex – integrating market food and country food, trading and sharing economies. The approach to addressing food insecurity incorporates this larger perspective and targets root causes.
- How access to clean water relates to these initiatives, and food security work being undertaken.
Budget 2021 – Proposed approach to food security funding
Marco Valicenti, Director General, Programs Branch, delivered remarks on AAFC's approach to the food security funding announced in Budget 2021, indicating the department is looking to reserve a portion to support strategic investments in projects that are sustainable and support food security. Council members were provided with a list of questions prior to the meeting, and were invited to submit written feedback. The questions were:
- Are you aware of gaps in AAFC's emergency food relief coverage? If so, please provide details.
- Should AAFC be considering new ways of addressing food insecurity? Are there best practices or lessons learned that AAFC should be aware of?
- How could AAFC use the funding amount in reserve to help make progress toward more sustainable solutions in the area of food security?
- Please feel free to share any additional comments regarding food programs at AAFC. We value your insights.
Council members asked a number of questions and provided initial feedback, including the following views:
- Support for investment in education for public procurement officers to evaluate the sustainability and community benefit in institutional procurement across Canada.
- Funding should be connected to rates of food insecurity in communities and recognize that organizations and communities dealing with food insecurity do not always have the resources to apply for programming.
- Funding should be provided to smaller organizations that fill gaps, such as community health centres and organizations supporting immigrants to Canada.
Marco Valicenti clarified the funding parameters (that is, Emergency Food Security Fund and Local Food Infrastructure Fund eligibility, terms and conditions) and that funds needed to be allocated by March 31, 2022. He asked Council members for advice on making strategic investments with the funds and expect to receive their input by mid-July. He indicated that AAFC is collecting data and lessons learned from previous emergency food security funding rounds, with the view to improving program design and delivery. He also indicated that recipients of the first rounds of emergency funding (6 national organizations) are the conduits to funding smaller organizations and that they are actively engaged with – and fund – community groups and health centres.
UN Food Systems Summit
The objective of this agenda item was for Council members to identify opportunities to advance collaborative action: as individuals; potentially within their organizations or networks; and/or as a Council.
Jason Baillargeon, Director, Strategic Policy Branch, provided an overview of the UN FSS with a focus on AAFC's approach leading to the final Stage 3 Member State Dialogue, and Canada's participation at the pre-Summit in July and Summit in September.
One member indicated Council members could reach out within their networks, to inform Canada's potential commitments and position at the Summit. Another Council member indicated there is significant controversy around the Summit including concerns that corporate interests have a disproportionate influence over the process and that Canada should focus on domestic efforts to achieve sustainable development goals, highlighting the recent Office of the Auditor General of Canada report on preparedness to meeting the SDGs. Council members asked about the 'end game' for the dialogue and Canada's participation at the UN FSS.
AAFC officials clarified that Global Affairs Canada is the overall lead for Canada's participation at the Summit. AAFC is the lead on the Member State Dialogues to engage a diverse range of food system stakeholders and partners to consider food systems-based thinking in identifying areas of collective action to make progress on social, environmental, economic and health food-related outcomes. AAFC will confirm the date for the Stage 3 Dialogue with Council members in the coming week. An objective for Council members' participation in the Stage 3 Dialogue could be to explore linkages with the working groups as well as identify opportunities to advance the implementation of the Food Policy. AAFC sought feedback from Council members re the structuring and themes of discussion groups as well as potential interest of Council members to facilitate breakout sessions. Some Council members were cautious about the potential facilitation role in the Stage 3 Dialogue, expressing preference to participate instead.
Nominations for new Council members
The purpose of this agenda item was to seek Council members' input on new members and coordinate outreach. The CFPAC received a message from the secretariat inviting nominations to fill a small number of vacancies on the Council. Nominations will be provided to Minister Bibeau for consideration in making a limited number of new appointments.
A Council member indicated concern that the requesting Council members to provide nominations will limit the list to "who you know" and advised the secretariat to consult the initial applications for candidates who self-identified as Indigenous, and forward those names for the Minister's consideration.
One Council member indicated that lack of resources was a main factor in a member's recent resignation. Several Council members expressed support for remunerating members who may not have the funding support from their organizations, to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to participate. The secretariat clarified that the application process advertised travel and accommodation expenses related to Council meetings would be reimbursed, but that no other compensation was indicated or communicated throughout the process. The secretariat expressed appreciation for the contributions from all members and indicated that remuneration is not being considered at this time.
Next meeting date
The next meeting will be scheduled in September. The secretariat will follow up to provide dates to Council members.
Action items (Secretariat)
- Support for the Working Group on School Nutrition: WebEx platform and interpretation services for webinar on June 22.
- Ongoing support for the other working group meetings over the summer (dates to be determined).
- Reach out to Council members for written feedback on the Budget 2021 food security funding.
- Confirm date, approach and format for the Stage 3 Dialogue with Council members
- Establish date for the meeting in September.
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 4 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 1 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 3 years, to between 2 and 3 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:
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.
Council members indicated intent to re-convene in 6 to 8 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
- 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
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:
- 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 6 months. The Council agreed that the Terms of Reference and work planning would be discussed at the next meeting.
The Co-chairs thanked the members for their contributions and concluded the meeting.
Annex A: Participants
- 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
Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council Members
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 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.
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 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 Guardian.com, CNN.com, ForeignAffairs.com, 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.
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, 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 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 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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
Prince Edward Island
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 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 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.
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 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.
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].
Council engagement will be guided by the following principles:
- Collegial, free, and open communication and participation
- 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
- 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.
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
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
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 email@example.com.