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Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security Hosts Food Security Symposium

Press Release

TORONTO, April 26, 2019 – The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (“the Centre”) hosted its second annual Food Security Symposium today in Toronto, bringing together more than 160 participants representing a broad range of skills, resources and interests from across Canada.

The Symposium included speakers and panelists on topics including perspectives on progress and barriers from those with lived experience, government priorities and approaches, the power of collaboration to drive social policy, and perspectives from industry, civil society and government on what needs to change.

Presenters included the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture; Adam Vaughn, Parliamentary Secretary for Housing and Urban Affairs; Julie Dabrusin, Chair, Liberal Food Caucus; Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart and President, Walmart Foundation; and Willa Black, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cisco Canada.

The Symposium also featured leaders from the food security sector, including Paul Taylor, FoodShare; Nick Saul, Community Food Centres Canada; Joseph LeBlanc, Northern Ontario School of Medicine; and Pedro Barata, United Way of Canada.

Notable quotes from the day:

  • “Food insecurity is a social justice issue, not a food scarcity issue or a matter of charity. This Symposium brings together government, business, academia and civil society to share perspectives on what needs to change to ensure all Canadians, regardless of income, geographic or health barriers, can reliably access healthy food. Through collaboration, our goal is to amplify our collective efforts to achieve critical social policy and program reforms and scale initiatives to achieve this, with clear timelines and measurements.” – Michael H. McCain, Honorary Chair, Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security
  • Canada’s first-ever food policy will help ensure all people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food through an innovative and environmentally sustainable food system. In Budget 2019, we committed $134.4 million to help make this vision a reality. Canadians from coast to coast to coast have helped us develop a path forward to address the challenges of our food system, while ensuring that Canada’s agricultural sector continues to grow our economy.” – The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • “How do we create systems that are regenerative environmentally and inclusive economically? It’s in the interest of business to work on these issues. Social systems, environmental systems economic systems – you can’t separate them.” – Kathleen McLaughlin, Senior Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart Inc. and President, Walmart Foundation
  • “Food justice is a foundational element of a philosophy that will guide actions in this area. It would be hard to find a Canadian who doesn’t think every Canadian deserves access to food, water and shelter.” – Joseph LeBlanc, Director, Indigenous Affairs, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
  • “The issue is how we bring these real truths to the vast majority so they can say ‘I don’t want to be in a town, city or country where so many of my neighbours don’t have a space at the table.’ You have to have that sense that we are all in it together.” – Nick Saul, President & CEO, Community Food Centres Canada
  • “Some of you might think that food insecurity only affects people on social assistance, but the reality is that 62% of food insecure people derive their income from employment. This means Canadians are working hard at paid jobs and still not able to make ends meet.” – Paul Taylor, Executive Director, FoodShare Toronto

About The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security:

The Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security (“The Centre”) is a registered charity that focuses on advocacy, funding innovative interventions, collective impact and knowledge sharing, with a goal of working in collaboration to reduce food insecurity by 50% by 2030. Launched in December 2016, the Centre partners with organizations that are testing and expanding innovative approaches to advance sustainable food security. The Centre shares learning from its work and supports networks, collaboration and research that builds further understanding of the issues and approaches that advance healthy, sustainable food for all Canadians.

For further information: Media Contact: Annemarie Dijkhuis, [email protected], 1-888-995-5030; Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security Contact: Sarah Stern, Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security, [email protected]

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