Encouraging local food use in Ontario's Broader Public Sector

In the winter of 2019, the Ontario government consulted with stakeholders to develop an aspirational local food public sector organization goal under the Local Food Act, 2013. These consultations resulted in the identification of red tape barriers to the use of local food by the Broader Public Sector (BPS), as well as current strategies to increase the use of local food by public institutions.

On March 18, 2019, the government for the people announced the Minister's remaining goal to:

Remove Red Tape Barriers and Open the door for Local Food in the Broader Public Sector

The intention is to remove red tape barriers to the use of local food by the Broader Public Sector.

The goal also aims to promote best practices that result in the broader public sector's increased use of local food.

The Government will report progress on the public sector organization goal in its annual Local Food Report and Broader Public Sector Champions Program.

To support the Broader Public Sector's use of more local food through procurement processes, the government has developed the following resources:

  • A suite of best practice resources including videos and tools like case studies and tip sheets to help increase local food procurement by public service organizations.
  • Doing Business with the Ontario Government webinars facilitated by Supply Chain Ontario (Ministry of Government and Consumer Services) for agri-food businesses who are interested in becoming a vendor to supply local food to public organizations.
  • A factsheet that removes barriers to organizations using the Foodland Ontario logo by communicating the benefits of using, utilizing and obtaining the logo
  • An interactive map of food hubs in the province to make businesses and BPS organizations aware of food hubs (aggregators).
  • We will be working with partner ministries to explore how procurement policies might be clarified to permit public sector organizations to explore ways of increasing the use of local food while respecting trade obligations.

Tools and Resources for the Broader Public Sector use of Local Food

Increasingly, Ontarians are expecting local food options to be made available within public sector organizations. For many, serving local food can have a positive effect on the perception of the quality of food being offered at an institution.

Foodservice in public sector organizations has begun to respond with almost 60 per cent of institutions asking for Ontario food.

While institutions have significantly increased their use of local food over the last few years, there is still a great opportunity to reduce the barriers to local food procurement in public sector organizations.

General Local Food business tools for use across the Broader Public Sector. These tools are provided for information only and it remains the responsibility of any Public Sector Organization using the tools to ensure compliance with the law and applicable trade agreements.

OMAFRA's Agriculture Business Management

Procurement Tools and Resources for Colleges and Universities

Procurement Tools and Resources for Long-Term Care Facilities

Procurement Tools and Resources for Hospitals

Procurement Tools and Resources for Municipalities

Procurement Tools and Resources for Schools

Tools and Resources for Regional Food Hubs (Aggregators) and Distributors

A regional food hub (aggregator) can be a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. For example, a regional food hub (aggregator) can collaborate with local or regional producers on ways to meet food safety standards or create shared inventory systems. A regional food hub (aggregator) can also market directly to individual buyers or partner with larger scale distributors to make local products available to customers through existing ordering systems.

OMAFRA has created an interactive map of food hubs (aggregators) located across Ontario. Although not exhaustive, the list includes many small-to-medium sized businesses that aggregate food for commercial purposes as well as for community programs.

The list does not include major distribution players that supply the food service and institutional sectors. However, many of these distributors have established buy local programs and have systems in place to track and report on local food purchases. For more information, visit OMAFRA's Food Broker-Distributor Information Sheet.

Ontariofresh.ca is an online platform where you can connect with over 2,000 buyers and sellers of Ontario food.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca