The action and its aims
The Toronto Food Policy Council is a sub-committee of the Toronto Board of Health. It has four roles: to advise and support Toronto Public Health in the development of policies and programmes for food security; to advocate for innovative food policy programmes; to dialogue with a wide range of city actors on the research, promotion, design, implementation, and evaluation of ideas; and to be a reference group for the Toronto Food Strategy.
Why it was needed
It was formed in 1991, at a time when the idea of preventative public health was gaining traction and certain senior officers, including the Associate Medical Officer for Health, saw the importance of including food in the policy process.
Who initiated it, who is involved
Inspiration came from London, United Kingdom, as a result of a study visit and talk by the director of the then London Food Commission. The Toronto Board of Health approves all of the 30 members, which include a ‘citizen-member’ from the Toronto Board of Health; two local government employees; three members of the farming community from the surrounding rural area; two young people from the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council; and up to 24 residents of Toronto, who serve for three years.
Outcome/how it strengthened coordination
The Toronto Food Policy Council gives a voice to all food interests in the city, across sectors. It successfully advocated the inclusion of food in the 2002 and 2007 city strategies. Subsequently, in 2011, the city government adopted the Toronto Food Strategy, which looks into how food can contribute to the objectives of all city government departments.