Policy Research

“Increasing the number of entrepreneurs and creating conditions for them to succeed is key to Canada’s future well-being. Given the relatively low participation of women in business ownership, targeting female entrepreneurs, and tapping into this relatively underutilized resource pool has the potential to boost economic activity. ” – WESK, Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada, 2018

Background Research
We realized intuitively that most of our members were women. When we did a formal audit of membership and discovered that 66% of the members were women, we realized that the time had come to understand their issues and figure out what to do to help them more effectively. Furthermore, we saw that generally, innovation support from the government only goes to Big Food Businesses. Because the vast majority of food processors are ‘small’ (94.5%!!!!) we realized that there are few if any policies that address their needs. Led by Dr. Irena Knezevic of Carleton University, the SSFPA launched a research study that involved five universities over five provinces to find out how this lack of policy impacts small scale food processors and what could be done to improve policy support. The result of this research is a deep concern that even though there is a need for more value-added food production from the primary producers in Canada, there is little or no recognition or support for the food business start-up. Our experience is that so many of our members’ products are exciting, innovative, on the leading edge regarding nutrition density, and have created value-chains with regional farmers (thus contributing to farm sustainability); yet the importance of these initiatives is ignored.

  • Needs Analysis (2016): Analysis of the challenges facing women in the food processing industry
  • Consultation Report (2019): The SSFPA hosted a consultation event event in Courtenay, BC, from October 30 to November 1,  to discuss barriers that small scale processors encounter, the programs that already exist to support them, and the supports that they need that are not already in place.
  • Policy Research Update (2020): Overview of findings collected from stakeholder interviews as of 2020.