Food Policy Council

Terms of Reference

Mission Statement

The TFPC will:logo of Toronto Food Policy Council

Advise and support Toronto Public Health in the development of inclusive and comprehensive food security policies and programs expressing internationally-recognized principles of healthy public policy, social determinants of health, and the Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion.

Advocate for innovative community food security programs that address City-wide commitments of the Toronto Food Strategy, Toronto Food Charter and Toronto Environmental Plan.

Foster dialogue with Toronto Public Health, community groups, social agencies, educational institutions and businesses in the research, promotion, design, implementation and evaluation of emerging ideas in the field of community food security.

Act as the community reference group for the Toronto Food Strategy with a focus on identifying emerging issues, facilitating linkages between the community, Toronto Public Health and City Divisions, and advising the food strategy team on their implementation process.

Aims and Objectives

  1. To animate, cultivate and shepherd innovative food policy approaches being discussed in Toronto – particularly in such emerging and multi-faceted arenas as equitable food access, urban agriculture, regional food self-reliance, “fair trade,” “buy local” and “eco-label” products – so that the rich creativity of Toronto residents and community groups finds appropriate “point” people, respect and engagement with staff working in relevant government and public interest organizations.

  2. To develop and advocate for “healthy public policy” on food security issues by encouraging cooperation among the many government departments and sectors that have an impact on food security.

  3. To support innovative projects and policies that improve food security by encouraging urban agriculture and regional food self-reliance within the Golden Horseshoe and Greenbelt.

  4. To work with City staff and community partners to enhance the capacity of community groups and agencies to advocate for improvements to government food security programs and provide direct services that address the food security needs of people they serve.

  5. To partner with educators to promote inter-disciplinary research and teaching in subjects related to community food security.

  6. To identify municipal mechanisms best suited to advance community food security.

  7. To enhance Toronto’s reputation for excellence and leadership in the fields of public health and community food security.

  8. To initiate research, publications, educational events and partnerships that foster dialogue and advocacy on ideas, policies and programs that keep Toronto City Council, City staff and interested citizens abreast of emerging trends in the fields of food security, local food self-reliance and sustainable food systems.


The Toronto Board of Health appoints one citizen member from the Board of Health, two members of Toronto City Council, three members of farm and rural communities close to the Greater Toronto Area, two Toronto Youth Food Policy Council members, and up to 22 Toronto residents to a three-year term as TFPC members. Members are appointed based on their individual qualifications in the following areas:

  1. Their professional or community work reflects the values and principles inspiring the Toronto Food Strategy, Toronto Food Charter, Toronto Food Policy Council, and Toronto Public Health.
  2. They bring skills and experience in at least one arena of community food security that allow them to contribute to policy development within the TFPC.
  3. They represent at least one element of the rich diversity of the Toronto population’s food security skills, talents, and needs.
  4. They can help the TFPC to initiate dialogue and partnerships with at least one distinct population grouping in the city or nearby farmland.
  5. They respect the complexity and sensitivity of the TFPC’s work with diverse partners, and appreciate the need for personal and group skills in diversity management, problem-solving and “getting to yes”.
  6. They are able to attend monthly meetings of the TFPC on a regular basis, and can participate in occasional working group meetings.

A citizen member of the TFPC and a City Councillor serve as Co-Chairs of the Council, each elected by TFPC members. The Executive Committee is comprised of the Community and Councillor Co-Chairs and Chairs of each of the three TFPC working groups (Diversity, Outreach and Membership; Education; Emerging Issues and Communications). The Diversity, Outreach and Membership Committee of the TFPC reviews membership nominees to ensure that they meet or exceed the above criteria, and to ensure that Board of Health members have access to information to assist them in evaluating membership nominees.


TFPC members are appointed for three-year terms with the possibility of one term of renewal. Appointments will be staggered to ensure continuity between terms. Missing three meetings a year without prior discussion with a Co-Chair is deemed equivalent to a resignation. New members will be formally appointed by the Board of Health annually, or as needed.

Meeting Frequency

TFPC formal decision-making meetings are held bi-monthly. Less formal business meetings which discuss issues in detail and prepare recommendations for the formal meetings, are held in the alternate month. All meetings are open to the public.


Twelve TFPC members in attendance constitute a quorum. At least half of all TFPC members must vote (including by fax, mail or e-mail) before any motion dealing with public advocacy can be acted on.


Toronto Public Health assigns staff to support the ongoing work of the TFPC. On a case-by-case basis, TPH may assign staff to work on specific TFPC projects for a period of time. On behalf of the TFPC, the staff coordinator shall prepare an annual report for the Board of Health.