Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary
By Debra Pretty-Straathof, OFA Director
Ottawa hosted a national summit on food on June 22 and 23 to consult with Canadians on a new national food policy. Farmers, consumers, academics and government joined the Government of Canada to discuss their views on what should be included in A Food Policy for Canada.
Minister MacAulay first announced the development of a national food policy in early June. A Food Policy for Canada will set a long-term vision for the health, environmental, social, and economic goals related to food, while identifying actions that can be addressed in the short term.
The federal government’s consultation summit focused on four closely connected themes that have a direct impact on food – increasing access to affordable food; improving health and food safety; conserving our soil, water and air; and growing more high-quality food. Canadian farmers have a direct role in all four of these themes and that put representatives from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) at the table for the Ottawa food summit.
OFA representatives brought the farm and agri-food industry perspective to the summit and consultation discussions, citing CFA’s National Food Strategy and the integral role farmers play in Canada’s food system.
In addition to the summit and consultations, the government is asking every Canadian for their input on what our country needs in A Food Policy for Canada.
OFA encourages all our members to participate in the online survey (www.canada.ca/en/campaign/
Collaboration on a topic as important as food is critical to creating a policy. Canadians want to make healthy food choices. They depend on sufficient access to affordable, nutritious and safe food, and require information to make healthy food choices.
We must protect Canada’s natural resources to be able to deliver safe, affordable food that supports and grows our agriculture and food sector. As farmers, we’re on board with a food policy that includes all of these elements. OFA will be at the table at every opportunity to provide input, feedback and advice on how farmers can play a role as this policy develops and to ensure the policy is fair to Canadian farmers.