OTTAWA – The Saturday of the August long weekend could officially become Food Day Canada next year.
Bill S-227, known as the Food Day in Canada Act, passed its second reading in the House of Commons on Nov. 2, with parliamentarians unanimously voting to adopt the bill.
Late Elora resident Anita Stewart started Food Day Canada in 2003, in response to a mad cow disease scare, encouraging Canadians to buy, cook and eat food raised and grown in Canada.
But the celebration has largely been a local one confined to Wellington County and other rural pockets of the country.
Canadian Senator Rob Black wanted to change that, so he introduced the bill in the Red Chamber, with senators adopting the bill on May 12.
Typically, a bill would be introduced in the House and proceed to the Senate for consideration before becoming law, but this one is on a different journey.
On May 19, Perth-Wellington MP John Nater introduced the bill in the House of Commons, saying at the time that Food Day Canada would champion local food produced by hard-working farmers throughout the country.
In the House on Nov. 2, Nater said Food Day Canada began not with politicians, but with the mad cow crisis almost two decades ago.
“In those dark days of the agriculture industry in 2003, one person stood up and said, ‘Let’s do something positive.’ That one person was Anita Stewart,” Nater stated.
“She celebrated the first food day in Canada back in 2003, and Bill S-227 now honours that legacy.”
The bill has since been referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food for consideration.
The committee has 60 days to study the bill and respond; if the timeline expires, the bill automatically returns to the House for a final debate and vote.
In an emailed statement to the Advertiser, Nater said he expects the committee will proceed with the bill without amendment, but it’s currently addressing the Act to Amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and a Global Food Insecurity Study.
No date for the consideration of Bill S-227 has yet been announced.
“I am hopeful we can have the bill passed as soon as possible, but it will almost certainly be passed well before next summer, thus making Aug. 5, 2023 the first Official Food Day Canada,” Nater stated.