Additional elements of national food policy released on federal web site

AAFC’s web site devoted to a national food policy contains new information on 2 sub-elements that elaborate on last week’s food policy announcement: priority outcomes and guiding principles.  The web site also names two additional dimensions to be developed: targets and results reporting.  A bit more information is provided on the role of the National Food Policy Advisory Council.

Importantly, the priority outcomes reveal high-level objectives that are not apparent from the overarching goal statement: vibrant communities, improved food-related health, and strong indigenous food systems.   Reconciliation is a key principle along with inclusion and diversity, and evidence and accountability. The federal conception of sustainability is broader than evident from the high-level vision, and includes social, cultural, environmental and economic dimensions. Under the Innovation principle, the government states that “the policy process reflects a people-driven food system that is resilient and adaptive.”  This is a more expansive conception of innovation than what typically appears in statements about the economy and technological development.

The new Food Policy Advisory Council will be involved in target setting.  The federal government wants to align targets with the UN Millennium Development Goals, including Zero Hunger.

All this is encouraging.  But the action areas, announced earlier in the 2019 budget, remain weak and do not yet align with the principles, priority outcomes and UN Millennium Development Goals..  This reflects a long-standing problem in Canadian policy making regarding the food system, that bold statements and commitments are sometimes made, but actions to achieve them are typically weak and poorly implemented. The task, then, is to make sure the action areas are improved (see Goals this site for ideas).