Food policy

The 2019 federal budget unveiled this week includes measures to reduce food waste and boost the food industry under the aegis of Canada’s first ever national food policy.

Ottawa is spending $134.4 million to launch the policy, which will tackle food waste, promote healthy eating and support the food sector. The 2019 budget also pledges $100 million over five years from the Strategic Innovation Fund to support innovation in food processing.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) will manage a new $50 million Local Food Infrastructure Fund to help fund and support local food projects, including at food banks, farmers’ markets and other community-level food-related projects.

Ottawa is committing $20 million to AAFC to reduce waste during food processing, in grocery retail and in the foodservice sector. Currently more than half of the food produced in Canada ends up in landfill. Ottawa is also creating a National Food Waste Reduction Forum.

Huffington reports that a 2018 Oceana Canada study found more than half of seafood samples taken from Canadian restaurants failed to meet federal labelling requirements. Ottawa is responding $24.4 million to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) fight food fraud.

Ottawa is also supporting Northern and Indigenous communities through a $15-million "northern isolated community initiatives fund" that will help community food projects buy equipment and pursue skills training for food producers.

The budget sets aside $25 million for a “Buy Canadian” campaign supporting agricultural products. Ottawa is also launching a three year immigration pilot to bring in full-time, non-seasonal agricultural workers that will include a pathway to permanent residency.

Spending will start next year and extend over five years, between AAFC, the CFIA and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

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