Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, launched the $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program. The program aims to move surplus food commodities such as potatoes and other possible horticulture, fish and seafood, and meat through the food system as efficiently as possible to help vulnerable Canadians.

COVID-19 caused significant disruptions to areas of Canada’s food system, as it forced the
near closure of the restaurant and hospitality industry in Canada and the United States. Some producers across Canada are left with surpluses of quality food, while increased demand from grocery stores alone is not expected to clear the inventory before it spoils. At
the same time, the pandemic has increased the demand for food from food banks and other food security organizations in communities across Canada.

The Surplus Food Rescue Program has two core objectives:

  • Provide assistance to organizations serving vulnerable populations to acquire and
    process surplus commodities and food that would otherwise be lost or destroyed and
    distribute them to populations in need.
  • Connect surplus food commodities to vulnerable populations to avoid food waste.

The program aims to ensure the surplus food reaches vulnerable populations in Canada through the purchase, processing, transportation, and redistribution of surplus food. The program is designed to rescue surplus food that may be fresh, frozen inventory, or in need of further processing due to its highly perishable nature.

Eligible applicants include for-profit and not-for-profit organizations (industry groups, processors, distributors, food serving agencies, regional and municipal governments, and
agencies (can include schools or school boards) that can demonstrate an ability to handle the full logistical requirements for acquiring, processing, transporting and ensuring shelf-life stability of surplus commodities and delivery to organizations serving vulnerable populations.

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