OTTAWA, Ontario – A broad alliance of stakeholders across the food industry in Canada is calling for the Canadian government to form a National Food Policy Council that would support implementation of the country’s multifaceted national food policy.

The coalition believes that a formal council would bring diverse expertise and evidence-based advice on how to progress toward goals detailed in “A Food Policy for Canada,” which is the long-term vision for health, environmental, social and economic goals related to food. This policy is expected to influence the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food.

“I applaud the federal government’s leadership and consultative approach to building a national food policy as the foundation for a more sustainable food system,” Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, said in a statement. “But governments can’t do it all — business and civil society must engage and be part of the solution. An inclusive National Food Policy Council is the best way to drive bold action on the strength of evidence and collaboration.”

Advocates of a National Food Policy Council said that while the national food policy will provide a framework for creating a sustainable food system in Canada, many challenges will remain including, food insecurity in Canada, diet-related disease and climate change.

In 2017, the Arrell Food Institute at the Univ. of Guelph, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Food Secure Canada, Maple Leaf Foods and the McConnell Foundation formed an ad hoc working group to provide recommendations on how a national council would function.

“Working with the academic and research community was a necessary part of the process,” said Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute. “And through a rigorous research process, we were able to distill best practices from food policy councils from around the world to inform our recommendations to the Canadian government.”