On Wednesday May 8th, the Toronto Food Policy Council held a special discussion about recently-announced provincial cuts to public health, chaired by Rachel Gray, TFPC Chair and Executive Director of The Stop Community Food Centre. Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and the Chair of the Board of Health, Councillor Joe Cressy, presented the facts about the cuts to a packed room.

At the conclusion of the meeting, The TFPC unanimously passed a motion of support for Toronto Public Health, expressed its strong opposition to the cuts to public health, and asked the province to reverse the cuts.

Here is the full wording of the motion:

The TFPC is deeply concerned that these cuts will compromise food security for Torontonians by affecting funding for student nutrition programs, water quality testing, restaurant inspections, and food security programs offered at many agencies and city-operated facilities.

The Toronto Food Policy Council itself is under threat from these budget cuts. As a subcommittee of the Toronto Board of Health, the Toronto Food Policy Council provides a unique and effective forum for citizen engagement and participatory democracy. The TFPC is deeply concerned about the implications for citizen participation in decision-making on food security issues if the cuts and the proposed restructuring of public health in Ontario go ahead.

The TFPC connects diverse people from the food, farming and community sectors to develop innovative policies and projects that support a health-focused food system. TFPC members identify emerging food issues that will impact Torontonians, promote food system innovation, and facilitate food policy development. Founded in 1991, the TFPC is the oldest food policy council in a major city in the world, and is internationally recognized for its leadership in food security.

A full house at the TFPC meeting to discuss the cuts to the Toronto Public Health Budget

Here are some photos from the meeting:

Rachel Gray, TFPC Chair, introduces the speakers

Councillor Joe Cressy, Chair of the Board of Health addresses the crowd

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health for Toronto, explains what the cuts will mean for Toronto Public Health

David Crombie, TFPC Member and Chair of the Greenbelt Council

Andrea Boucaud, TFPC Member, Member of the Black Creek Food Justice Network

Ryan Noble, TFPC Member, Executive Director of North York Harvest Food Bank