Minister Bibeau highlights actions for Northern food security through the Food Policy for Canada
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, along with Yukon Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell, visited the Yukon Government Research Farm to highlight the five-year, $15 million Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund, an important part of the recently launched Food Policy for Canada.
Responsible for one in eight jobs across the country, our food sector is a powerhouse of the economy, particularly in our rural communities. However, more needs to be done to improve our food system. For example, too many Canadians aren’t able to reliably access enough healthy food, especially those in northern and isolated communities.
The Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund will help find innovative and practical solutions to increase food security across the North, together with other federal and northern partners. It is intended to support local, community-led projects that reduce dependence on the southern food industry and the associated costs (e.g. transportation and storage) for northern isolated communities. This investment is to be delivered by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).
One component of the initiative, called “Support for Northern Community Food Systems”, is a $9 million investment to provide funding to northern businesses and communities, in order to build a strong territorial food industry and help reduce food insecurity using practical and innovative approaches.
Another $3.5 million investment will provide funding to territorial initiatives identified by the Northern Food Working Group, a federal-territorial working group established under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement to increase economic opportunities in the territories related to growing, harvesting, and processing healthy food. The remaining $2.5 million will support implementation of the Fund.
The Food Policy for Canada is the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada heard from more than 45,000 Canadians, including food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organizations, and community advocates.
The vision for the Food Policy for Canada developed through these consultations is: 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.
To realize this vision, the Government of Canada is investing more than $134 million through Budget 2019, to support new initiatives in key action areas, including:
- a Local Food Infrastructure Fund designed to support community-led projects that improve access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food;
- a new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
- a challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and food service;
- new funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud – the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products – to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition;
- taking the first steps to work alongside provinces, territories, and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program; and
- the creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council to bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address the food challenges of today, as well as challenges in Canada’s food system in the future.
The Food Policy for Canada aligns with the objectives of initiatives across the Federal Government, such as the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Heathy Eating Strategy, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, among others.
“Canada’s North is host to an emerging number of community-led, innovative food systems. These projects have the opportunity to continue to grow and help alleviate food insecurity in the North, and the Food Policy for Canada will help them succeed,” said Minister Bibeau.