Posted on December 9, 2011 by Naomi Finseth

The Conference Board of Canada is pleased to host the Canadian Food Summit 2012, convening Canada’s food system leaders and national and international experts to discuss the latest research, share insights from other jurisdictions, and determine how to address Canada’s major food challenges and opportunities. February 7 & 8, 2012 • Metro Toronto Convention Centre • Toronto, Ontario

February 7 & 8, 2012 • Metro Toronto Convention Centre • Toronto, Ontario

Conference Overview

Why a Food Summit, and why now?

The reason is simple—few issues matter more to people than the quality and availability of food. Food prices are rising in Canada and globally, and the efficiency and effectiveness of the food supply chain directly impact our quality of life.

Food sustains us, and food choices affect health and healthcare costs, life expectancy, and lifestyle. Also, food production, processing, distribution, and retailing are cornerstones of the Canadian economy.

The Conference Board of Canada is pleased to host the Canadian Food Summit 2012, convening Canada’s food system leaders and national and international experts to discuss the latest research, share insights from other jurisdictions, and determine how to address Canada’s major food challenges and opportunities.

Food quality, availability, and price—Canadian issues, or a global crisis?

Driven by increasing population and rising wealth in emerging economies, food demand is growing, quality expectations are greater than ever, and fuel now competes with food, as ethanol production takes acres away from food production.

These global developments are driving food prices higher in Canada. Many Canadians already face genuine hardship as a result of high prices and quality and availability issues, and experts contend this situation will only get worse.

Rising world food demand is a threat and opportunity for Canadian producers.

Increasing food production by 70 per cent is a daunting challenge. Food shortages will cause considerable suffering in many areas, and are already affecting some Canadians. As one of the world’s leading food producers, this crisis also presents opportunities for Canada to supply burgeoning markets in China, India, and elsewhere.

Pursuing safe and healthy food, and a secure and sustainable supply.

This event will examine the major themes being pursued by the Centre for Food in Canada:

  1. Safe and healthy food—Perhaps Canada’s most visible domestic food issue, after a number of prominent food safety scares. What can be done to provide a safe and healthy food supply for all Canadians? How can Canada be sure to avoid a crisis of the kind now affecting Europe?
  2. Security—How can Canada guarantee its food supply in a growing and increasingly global market?
  3. Sustainability—What constitutes sustainability in the food sector? How will governments and businesses ensure an adequate food supply now and in the future?

What level of government involvement and regulation is appropriate?

Citizens expect governments to guarantee food safety, including the inspection of restaurants, shops, food processing plants, and farms. People are concerned about the humane treatment of livestock and, by and large, support mandatory food labeling.

Are limits needed on the state’s involvement and, if so, what should they be? Study after study confirms that food influences health, and dramatic increases in obesity and diseases such as diabetes, are bringing calls for government intervention to nudge or even force healthier choices. Others argue that what an individual eats is their business, and governments should be concerned with food safety only. This debate will intensify as healthcare costs increase.

Canada’s food issues and opportunities are complex, and have national and global ramifications.

These experts will address the challenges and opportunities to increase quality, performance, profitability, and global competitiveness. Help shape future policy, direct research initiatives, and develop strategies to optimize Canada’s food system, to the benefit of Canadians and others who rely on Canada to help meet their food needs.

Meet industry leaders, policy makers, and regulators, and provide your input into the Centre for Food in Canada’s Canadian Food Strategy that will be published in 2012.


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