COTA applauds creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council

New funding will be allocated to help the CFIA crack down on food fraud, including fraudulent organic claims. Photo: Thinkstock

Ottawa | Canada Organic Trade Association – The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) is pleased to learn that a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council will be created as part of the Food Policy for Canada. The launching of a council was a key recommendation from COTA and a host of other organizations spanning industry, academia and civil society. As more details become available, COTA will seek nomination for a seat on the council on behalf of the organic sector.

COTA has been pleased to be a part of the ongoing stakeholder meetings leading to the launch of the new Food Policy for Canada. COTA has been advocating, along with many diverse stakeholders, to develop a Food Policy for Canada. But more importantly, for an Advisory Council to ensure the successful implementation of the objectives set out in Canada’s first national Food Policy. This recommendation was developed with participants from the whole food system value chain – who all echoed the need for a longterm strategic vision for food in Canada and a good governance model to ensure successful implementation.

The organic sector is pleased to see this systems approach being adopted by the Government of Canada. – Tia Loftsgard

COTA has been advocating for this council to ensure that good governance of the Food Policy occurs. From COTA’s perspective, it is of utmost importance that the Food Policy encourages a food system that offers nutritious, affordable, culturally appropriate and accessible options, not simply food that is cheap, non-nutritious and widely available. The Advisory Council can assist the government to set key performance metrics, ensure community stakeholders are engaged and best practices are offered in the execution of the programs associated with the Policy.

“Food system in Canada should have the ambition of bringing healthy, nutritious food to all Canadians, especially to individuals that are food insecure. The organic sector is pleased to see this systems approach being adopted by the Government of Canada. This approach prioritizes sustainability, public transparency, food fraud and an emphasis on local food production,” said Tia Loftsgard, executive director of COTA. “COTA is looking forward to the further development of the governance process and the execution of programs for the Food Policy for Canada.”

COTA is also thrilled to see other details announced, reinforcing earlier commitments in the 2019 Federal Budget. These include:

  • New funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) crack down on food fraud, including fraudulent organic claims.
  • A new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in the Canadian food system.

COTA will continue to work with the federal government on the Food Policy for Canada and are pleased that issues that affect organic have been taken into account.

The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based association for the organic industry in Canada: representing growers, processors, certifiers, provincial farmers’ associations, importers, exporters, retailers, and others throughout the organic value chain. COTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public, and the economy. COTA brings together the diversity of Canada’s organic sector: from farmer and processor to retail, including food products, fibre and textiles, personal care, and emerging sectors such as organic aquaculture.