Blog #7: A National Food Policy for Canada

The need for developing a national food policy together with a clear strategy and effective programs is vital for the food security for future generations in Canada. We have abundant food now to feed our population and also feed the global populations through food aid internationally. This status of abundance can change if we do not protect our food production and distribution systems with safe food policies. The impact of urban development on our food chain, environmental impact of industrialization, rapid global population growth and the fact that 1.6 million of Canadian households are experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity all underline the need to develop a national food policy.

Agriculture and agri food policy should be addressed in long term plans rather than the current five year plans and policy development should focus on the importance of food as a determinant of health to  Canadians. While public health is focusing on healthy eating and increasing access to  fresh fruits and vegetables, a national food policy should focus on protecting and enhancing farming , food production and processing with rapidly evolving science, technology and Innovation.

Canadian food policy should be able to protect the Canadian food sector which is already competing with the existing North American and European markets. New and emerging markets  from China, India and Brazil are going to give Canadian companies  tough completion in the global food market. My experiences in Africa and India have been an eye opener for me concerning the  need for a national food policy. In India, the National Food Security Act policy (2013) has made a great step toward protecting the availability of food for the rural and urban population of India who are below the country’s poverty line. But the remaining question is how effectively and efficiently this policy is going to be implemented. In Zimbabwe the prevalence of malnutrition and food insecurity is high. Practising dentistry in these developing countries exposed me to the prevalence of poverty and malnutrition of the general population and convinced me of the need for  food policies in these countries. The Canadian National Food Policy should protect domestic food production and allow food export only after meeting the food needs of all Canadian households. The policies should improve the accessibility of food to households, and increase the quality and nutritious value of food.

What upstream measures is the federal government planning to increase the accessibility and availability of food? When will we see a Comprehensive National Food Policy?

These are questions our political leaders need to consider, and I encourage you to present them to your local politicians.

Written by: Abraham Kunnilathu, UWO MPH Grad Student; Tweet @ Abraham16330808


National Food strategy; A framework for securing the future of food, retrieved from

Statistics Canada; House hold food insecurity 2011-2012; retrieved from

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