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Resolutions play a major part in the League’s work. At the parish level, studying and discussing resolutions is an educational experience. Resolution 2020.01 has been posted here in its draft form, so that it can be used as a reference by councils that want to compose a new resolution. It is important that no action be taken on this resolution until it has been fully debated and adopted by its highest intended level—the National Convention in 2021.

St. Patrick’s Parish Council
Community Life

2020.01           Federal Legislation to Reduce Food Loss and Waste

Resolved,       that Calgary Diocesan Council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada at the 98th annual Diocesan Convention assembled urge the federal government to enact legislation to reduce food loss and waste for the Canadian industrial, commercial and institutional sectors, and be it further

Resolved,       that this resolution be forwarded to Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council for consideration at the 73rd annual convention in 2020.

BRIEF:            Federal Legislation to Reduce Food Loss and Waste

In Canada, there is no legislation to prohibit food loss and waste (FLW) in the agri-food industry. FLW occurs in the agri-food business because of a lack of cooperation and coordination between the different food production sectors. Reducing FLW which specifically focusses on the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors could annually decrease an estimated 11 million tonnes of FLW. This reduction would feed every Canadian for five months (Gooch et al. 5). Reduction of FLW across the food supply chain would reduce significant environmental and socio-economic impacts associated with the production of food including the inefficient use of natural resources, biodiversity, economic losses, and public health issues (CEC 14).

Food Loss is edible food that is lost in food production, processing and manufacturing while Food Waste is when edible food is thrown away by grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and commercial institutions (HRI). FLW occurs because there is a lack of government legislation and policy, a lack of a business infrastructure to promote FLW, and a lack of cooperation and collaboration between different sectors of the agri-food industry. Other causes of FLW are that it is not a priority for businesses as well as safety and liability concerns with food donation. (Gooch & Felfel 9). In Canada several jurisdictions have addressed the issue of FLW by providing a tax incentive to food producers when they donate edible food to charitable organizations (CRA). Another approach which addresses the concern about the safety and liability issues of donating edible food has been addressed by the Government of British Columbia with the development of guidelines for both industry and charitable organizations on criteria to ensure food safety and liability issues are addressed (Provincial Health Services).

The approximate 49.5-billion-dollar cost of FLW to the Canadian economy represents three percent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (in 2016 dollars). Once again, this could feed every Canadian for nearly five months. The annual FLW from the commercial sector consists of fifty-eight percent of Canada’s FLW at a cost of approximately $39 billion. However, this does not represent the true cost of commercial FLW. For example, if food production costs are accounted for (e.g., the cost of the use of land, water and energy) the cost of FLW is estimated to be approximately $111 billion (Gooch & Felfel 6). Of this 11 million tonnes of commercial FLW an estimated 8.8 million tonnes is avoidable and could be rescued. Avoidable FLW occurs along the food chain as unplanned/post-processing FLW. Because it is preventable, avoidable FLW represents the greatest opportunity to reduce FLW. The area of HRI provides the greatest opportunity for food rescue with currently ninety-eight percent of avoidable FLW. Other areas of potential food rescue include production and manufacturing where there are no attempts made in food rescue (Nikkel et al. 5). Two other areas of potential food rescue are production and manufacturing, and food distribution.

Presently, no ministry or level of government has ultimate responsibility or accountability for FLW. This results in a lack of leadership and marginalization of FLW for the allocation of government time, funds and political capital (Gooch et al. 45). As stated in a recent Government of Canada report on FLW, “All orders of government – federal, provincial, territorial and municipal – have authority over matters that can directly or indirectly influence the creation of food loss and waste. This represents an opportunity to identify particular policy and regulatory barriers and levers that could reduce food loss and waste” (Environment and Climate Change 27). By enacting legislation within the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors, FLW can be reduced across the commercial food supply chain. Enacting legislation to enforce the existing Food Policy for Canada (Canada, House of Commons 1) will advance the reduction of FLW in Canada and assist in feeding hungry Canadians.


Works Cited

Canada, House of Commons. “A Food Policy for Canada: Report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.” House of Commons, Dec. 2017, p. 1, www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/AGRI/Reports/RP9324012/agrirp10/agrirp10-e.pdf.

(CEC) Commission for Environmental Cooperation. “Characterization and Management of Food Loss and Waste in North America.” CEC, Dec. 2017, White Paper, p. 14, www3.cec.org/islandora/en/item/11772-characterization-and-management-food-loss-and-waste-in-north-america-en.pdf.

(CRA) Canada Revenue Agency. “Ontario Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit for Farmers.” Canada.ca, Government of Canada, 2 Apr. 2019, www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/provincial-territorial-corporation-tax/ontario-provincial-corporation-tax/ontario-community-food-program-donation-tax-credit-farmers.html.

Environment and Climate Change Canada. “Taking Stock: Reducing Food Loss and Waste in Canada.” Canada.ca, Government of Canada, 28 June 2019, p. 27, www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-reducing-waste/food-loss-waste/taking-stock.html.

Gooch, M. et al. “The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste: Technical Report.” Second Harvest, Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International Inc. Jan. 2019, p. 5, 6, 45, secondharvest.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Avoidable-Crisis-of-Food-Waste-Technical-Report-January-17-2019.pdf.

Gooch, Martin V., and Abdel Felfel. “$27 Billion Revisited: The Cost of Canada's Annual Food Waste.” Value Chain Management International Inc., 10 Dec. 2014, p. 6, 9, vcm-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Food-Waste-in-Canada-27-Billion-Revisited-Dec-10-2014.pdf.

Nikkel, Lori, et al. “The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste: The Roadmap.” Second Harvest, Jan. 2019, p. 5, secondharvest.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Avoidable-Crisis-of-Food-Waste-The-Roadmap-by-Second-Harvest-and-VCMI.pdf.

Provincial Health Services Authority. “Food Donation Guidelines.” BC Centre for Disease Control, 2020, www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/professional-resources/food-donation-guidelines.

Action Plan

  1. Write letters to the Prime Minister, Ministers of Environment and Climate Change, Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada with copies to your local member of parliament urging the federal government to develop and enforce legislation to reduce food loss and waste for Canadian industrial, commercial and institutional sec
  2. Write letters to provincial, territorial, and municipal governments urging them to collaborate with the federal government to ensure a value-based perspective is considered for legislation to reduce food loss and waste for all Canadian industrial, commercial and institutional sectors which affect all province A value-based perspective prevents unneeded food from being grown and then thrown away.
  3. Encourage members to become knowledgeable with Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si’ On Care for Our Common Home.”
  4. Establish an online petition requesting the development of federal legislation that addresses food loss and wa
  5. Develop an awareness campaign and invite speake Provide information and resources to members and the public regarding the consequences of the poor functioning of the food production supply system primarily due to ineffectiveness in the Canadian food supply chain.
  6. Monitor the federal government’s response to the request contained in the resolution.

 Download pdf copy of document


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