December 9, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Government of Canada
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Joyce Murray, and the Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal today issued the following statement in response to the Auditor General’s report on Protecting Canada’s Food System:
“We welcome the Auditor General’s report on Protecting Canada’s Food System. We recognize the importance of the findings and accept the recommendations.
Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has worked tirelessly to safeguard the health and well-being of Canadians. At a time when we faced disruptions to food processing and production, and unemployment and wage losses led to increased risks of food insecurity, we took quick and decisive actions to protect Canada’s food supply.
The Auditor General’s report highlights the collaboration that is required to protect and strengthen Canada’s food supply. As the report notes, we drew on a strong foundation of existing programs and mechanisms to create new emergency food programs quickly, and we engaged broadly with stakeholders across the food sector.
To make sure Canadians had stable access to food, we rolled out programs to address issues across the food supply chain, from processing to waste management. We put measures in place to keep workers safe, provided funding to get food on the tables of people facing food insecurity, prevented good food from going to waste, and increased funding to make food and other essential items more accessible and affordable for residents of isolated northern communities. The government further supported locally-led, innovative projects to ensure individuals and families had access to healthy and affordable food in their communities.
Food systems are essential for the health and well-being of Canadians and the strength of our economy. We are committed to working across all levels of government and with stakeholders to better plan and prepare for future crises affecting the food system.
The Government of Canada is committed to fairness, accountability, and performance measurement in program design and implementation. We also recognize the importance of collecting and reporting on data on Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and sustainable development objectives in government initiatives, to ensure that we respond to the needs of diverse groups of Canadians, and take into account the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
As we move ahead in our efforts to strengthen the food supply chain, we will grow from the valuable lessons that we have learned during the pandemic. We will continue to work collaboratively so that all people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food, and so that Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.”