President & CEO, Canadian Centre for Food Integrity
John Jamieson, President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), discusses Canada’s food system and how public trust has reached an all-time high.
What is the CCFI?
The CCFI is a not-for-profit charitable organization whose members and partners represent the diversity of today’s food system. Consumers have questions about food and their healthy curiosity and skepticism is why we exist. Our sole mandate is to connect the Canadian food system with the consumer and our objective is to have Canadians trust the food they consume and the processes and practices that produce that food.
What’s the biggest misconception about where Canada’s food is grown and produced?
Our research shows that most Canadians know very little about food production because so many of them are far removed from the process. As a result, I think many people have a nostalgic notion of farming and fishing that’s inconsistent with today’s reality. Canadian food production is based on science and technology, is more sustainable than ever, and provides food affordability, safety, and security for Canadians.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the public’s trust in the food system?
Confidence in Canada’s food system is at an all-time high. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented exceptional pressures, but our sector has adapted, resulting in Canadians feeling optimistic about their food supply. The proportion of Canadians who believe our food system is headed in the right direction has reached a five-year high, and the food system’s response to the pandemic has been highly praised by Canadians. According to the CCFI’s recent Public Trust Research Data Release, nearly nine in ten Canadians trust that the food system will ensure the availability of healthy food for them and their families.
What is the largest issue that Canada’s food system is currently facing?
I think the largest issue the Canadian food system is facing is consistent with every other sector and citizen in the world right now: uncertainty that’s attributed to living through the middle of a global pandemic. While COVID-19 has presented challenges, however, it has also offered the Canadian food system an extraordinary opportunity to connect with consumers and to highlight the potential for the agri-food system to lead Canada’s economic recovery.