July 8, 2019 – Whitehorse, Yukon – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, 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
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.
"Everyone at the table!"
"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."
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"I am proud to join Minister Bibeau here in the North to announce these important
investments that promise to improve food security for some of our country's most
vulnerable communities, while helping to grow and diversify our vibrant territorial
economies." Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon
"The Food Policy for Canada is a roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food
system for Canada. We view new initiatives such as Local Food Infrastructure Fund
and the Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund announced by Minister Bibeau
today as complementing the good work that is already underway in Yukon and across
the North to create economic growth, through the agriculture sector, better nutrition
and improved food security for the people of Canada's North." Ranj Pillai, Yukon
Minister of Economic Development and Energy Mines and Resources
- Starting in Fall 2019, CanNor will discuss proposed implementation approaches with
Indigenous and territorial partners and stakeholders, which will help ensure the
roll-out of the initiative is reflective of northern needs and cultural context
around food security. Additional information about this initiative will be available
in the coming months.
- Food insecurity impacts large segments of the population in the territories, particularly
in Nunavut, which continues to experience the highest rate of household food insecurity
in the country.
- The Food Policy will help Canada meet its commitments under the United Nations'
Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut
food waste, and encourage sustainable food systems.
- CanNor is the regional development agency for the territories (Yukon, Northwest
Territories and Nunavut) and works to support the conditions for a sustainable,
diversified and innovative economy, in collaboration with Northerners, Indigenous
stakeholders, businesses, organizations, other federal departments and other levels