The federal government is looking at agriculture and food policy from five different perspectives:
- The National Food Policy, with the potential to define long-term agriculture and food guidelines. The Liberal government campaigned on creating a National Food Policy. It was identified in Agriculture and Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay’s mandate letter and Fraser said the Prime Minister’s Office is also highly interested in the National Food Policy. MacAulay said he hopes to have it defined by next spring. Public consultations were recently launched.
- The renewal of Canada’s Food Guide by the Ministry of Health.
- The finalizing of the national sustainable development strategy under the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph said the first draft of the strategy didn’t mention agriculture or food, but the second draft identified sustainable food systems as a priority.
- The finalizing of the next Agriculture Policy Framework by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the provinces.
- A major push that identifies agriculture as an economic driver for the country that comes out of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, and runs through the Treasury Board and Ministry of Finance. The report, often referred to as the Barton Report, identified agriculture and food sector growth, especially through exports, as a way to grow middle-class wages. The agriculture and economic growth file is also tied to the development of innovation super clusters through the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. It’s assumed an agriculture technology cluster will be likely, given interest in the sector.