OTTAWA -- The decisions we make as individuals and as a country about food have a direct impact on our health, environment, economy, and communities. Over 250 participants, with diverse expertise on food issues, have wrapped up a unique two-day Summit in Ottawa, marking an important step in the development of A Food Policy for Canada.
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A food policy is a way to address issues related to the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food. A Food Policy for Canada will cover all food sources, including primary agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, and processing.
"The food we eat affects our health and well-being – A Food Policy for Canada, which complements the Healthy Eating Strategy released last Fall, is a means to build on our efforts to help ensure Canadians can make healthy and safe food choices. This Summit is another step in developing a food policy that reflects our country's priorities; I look forward to seeing the results of these important conversations," Jane Philpott, Minister of Health.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, along with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Yvonne Jones, and Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs), spoke to participants this morning, on the second day of the Summit. The Minister and Parliamentary Secretaries highlighted the importance of hearing from Canadians, including experts and key stakeholders, in developing a food policy. A Food Policy for Canada will be the first-of-its-kind for the Government of Canada and will cover the entire food system, from farm-to-fork.
"This Summit is a key milestone in developing A Food Policy for Canada. It provides a valuable opportunity to hear and reflect on a variety of experiences, perspectives, and innovative ideas related to food from a diverse cross-section of Canadians. Participants came ready to roll-up their sleeves and get to work, and their views are extremely valuable as we build A Food Policy for Canada," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Jean-Claude Poissant, and on behalf of Minister of Health, Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer, were on hand on the first day of the Summit to welcome participants from across the country.
Participants at the Summit included representatives from community organizations, academics, Indigenous groups, industry, stakeholders, and officials from all orders of government, who added their voices and contributed to discussions on a broad range of food-related challenges and opportunities in areas related to:
"Looking for ways to improve the affordability and availability of food across our country, including for Indigenous peoples, and those in remote and Northern communities is extremely important. A Food Policy for Canada provides us another opportunity to hear from Canadians about how we can address this important issue," Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
The Government of Canada wants to hear from Canadians about what is important to them when it comes to food opportunities and challenges. Online consultations were recently launched at www.canada.ca/food-policy and remain open until July 27, 2017. Engagement on the development of the policy will continue throughout the summer and fall.
"We are building A Food Policy for Canada together because every Canadian family, including those who are most vulnerable, should be able to access affordable, nutritious, and safe food. Hearing different perspectives when it comes to food issues, such as at this Summit, will position us to better address challenges Canadians may have in accessing food," Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs).
Feedback from the Summit, along with feedback received through all consultations on this policy will be reflected in a What We Heard Report.
SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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