Tackling food waste

The Council has developed a national, multi-year Strategy to reduce food waste. The Strategy was developed by learning from global leaders and successful initiatives from across Canada.

The Strategy rests on three pillars: policy change, innovation, and behavior change. To be effective in implementing the strategy, we need to mobilize a cross-Canada effort to engage businesses from across the food supply chain, governments at all levels and consumers.


Collaboration on many fronts

Like other complex, multifaceted problems, the fight against food waste calls for broad collaboration. The Council has therefore proposed a cross-sector National Food Waste Reduction Strategy and is calling upon Canadians and key stakeholders in different sectors to contribute.

Proposed actions on reducing food waste bring with them economic as well as social and environment benefits, such as helping Canada combat climate change. 

 National Food Waste Reduction Strategy - March 2017
 Stratégie Nationale de Réduction des Résidus Alimentaires - French version

Stakeholder Engagement

The National Zero Waste Council undertook a robust stakeholder engagement process involving over 900 stakeholders through webinars, workshops, interviews, and survey. See details below.


Update on What We Heard 

A majority of stakeholders support a National Food Waste Reduction Strategy and urge the National Zero Waste Council to continue leading as a powerful convener for the project, which aims to yield significant economic, social, and environmental benefits across Canada.

Based on innovative and tried-and-tested policies and practices around the globe, the National Food Waste Reduction Strategy is built on three pillars: policy change, innovation and behavior change. The actions under each pillar work together to tackle food waste challenges at all levels of the supply chain across Canada from post-farm to consumer. 

The Strategy has previously been submitted to the federal government, and the Council is now looking to solidify collaboration amongst stakeholders on a range of short and long term actions. 

Strong support was given to the policy and behavior change elements of the Strategy with stakeholders looking to take action on 'best before dates', the development of a national consumer campaign and communications materials supporting nutritious food donations.  Most respondents also recommended prioritizing reduction-orientation activities over diversion. 

The tax incentive initially proposed by the Council in 2015 to support donated food to charities received mixed reviews. Most supporters agreed with the move in principle, but more needs to be done to educate retailers about surplus food and alleviate concerns that a tax incentive might bring unintended consequences, including straining the existing receiving infrastructure in place in most organizations. 

An updated National Food Waste Reduction Strategy will be a key focus of the Zero Waste Conference being held November 1st in Vancouver - zwc.ca. The results of the stakeholder engagement will be reviewed in more detail to look at prevention and reduction, but also diversion.  The Council plans to phase in the plan, giving greater consideration to policies already rolled out across Canada in the past year. 


Stakeholder Engagement Calendar 


We have organized webinars to present the National Food Waste Reduction Strategy and engage participants.

Featured speakers include Bob Long, NZWC Board Member and Chair of the Food Working Group, FCM Standing Committee on Environmental Issues and Sustainable Development, and Councillor, Township of Langley, Lori Nikkel,  Director of Programs and Partnerships, Second Harvest and Christina Seidel, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Alberta.

  • Tuesday, July 18, 9:00am - 10:30am PST. Featured speakers: Bob Long. Moderated by: Ryan Turnball, Eco-Ethonomics. Register here
  • Tuesday, April 25, 10:15am - 11:15am PDT. Featured speakers: Bob Long and Christina Seidel. Watch the recording
  • Tuesday, May 23, 9:00am - 10:00am PDT. Featured speakers: Bob Long and Lori Nikkel. Watch the recording



  • March 2, 2017, Halifax, NS. Divert Nova Scotia Circular Economy Summit on Food Waste. Contact: Divert Nova Scotia http://divertns.ca/
  • March 7, 2017, Vancouver, BC. Compost Council of Canada Compost Matters in BC. Contact: Compost Council of Canada http://www.compost.org/English/WRW.htm#BC
  • April 10, 2017, Portland, Oregon, USA. Food Waste Prevention and Recovery Workshop. Open to Pacific North America Climate Leadership Agreement members and invited guests.
  • April 12, 2017, Mississauga, ONT. Provision Coalition Food Loss + Waste Forum. Contact: mhassanali@provisioncoalition.com
  • April 19, 2017, Toronto, ONT. Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Stakeholder Workshop: Food Waste Prevention and Recovery.
  • May 16, 2017, Calgary, AB. National Food Waste Reduction Strategy Workshop, hosted by the National Zero Waste Council in collaboration with the City of Edmonton, City of Calgary, and the Recycling Council of Alberta. Contact: admin@nzwc.ca.
  • May 30, 2017, Milton, ON. Halton Food Council Food Waste Workshop. Contact: haltonfoodcouncil@gmail.com
  • June 20, 2017, Montreal, Quebec. National Food Waste Reduction Strategy Workshop, hosted by the National Zero Waste Council in collaboration with Recycle Quebec. Contact: admin@nzwc.ca.