As an independent, non-partisan policy catalyst, CAPI brings insight, evidence and balance to emerging issues.
We provide a neutral place to hold dialogues and generate perspectives among leaders across the food system.


The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is overseen by a Board of Directors with broad expertise in the agriculture and agri-food sector. The board is guided by an appointed Advisory Committee that provides input, direction and guidance in support of the Institute's work plans and ongoing research efforts. The federal, provincial and territorial departments of agriculture and food support the work of CAPI and seek CAPI's input on policy issues.

Board of Directors

Mr. John F.T. Scott is Chair of the Board. He is an economist, consultant and speaker specializing in Canada's Food Distribution and Retail sector. He currently analyzes strategies and frequently writes and speaks on Canada's food industry to various groups and companies. John is renowned for weaving the preferences of the changing consumer into the evolving dynamics of the industry. He is the previous CEO of Canada's largest retail grocery association (The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers) and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Niagara College. John is Past Chair of the acclaimed Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and a former Director of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA). He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Platform Genetics Inc. and the North American Advisory Board of Monaghan Mushrooms. John is one of only three individuals who have received both of the highest recognitions in Canada's retail food industry – the Golden Pencil (Hall of Fame) and the Spirit of the Independent Award (Inspiration to Entrepreneurs in the Sector).

Mr. Bill Buckner retired from Cargill Inc. in August 2015 after 28 years in various leadership roles, most recently as Senior Vice President and a member of the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT), the core executive group in charge of Cargill's overall strategy, growth, and funding. Mr. Buckner held numerous general management roles with Maple Leaf Foods, Toronto, Canada from 1977 to 1987. Mr. Buckner graduated with honors from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada with a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce. Mr. Buckner serves on the following Boards: Teys-Cargill Joint Venture, Brisbane Australia; Lykes Bros Inc., Tampa, Florida USA; Nelson & Co Limited, Wimbledon, London, UK; CAPI (The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute) Ottawa, Canada; and CASG (Canada Asia Synergy Group) Edmonton, Canada. Mr. Buckner was inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2015.

Ms. Chantelle Donahue is the Vice President & Commercial Seed Manager for Cargill's Global Edible Oil Solutions-Specialties (GEOS-S). In this role she is a member of the senior leadership team responsible for the development of commercial/business strategies and tactics, and the execution of functional business plans, strategy, vision, and goals for GEOS-S Global Seed Production. This includes Crop Production, Seed Production and Product Line, Supply Chain, and Customer Service, as well as leadership and direction for a diversified portfolio of products and services for customers conducting business in North America, Australia and Europe. Ms. Donahue's previous roles include Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Cargill Canada, supply chain and general management at Prairie Malt Limited, merchandizing for Cargill Canada's grain business and various roles focused on agriculture research. She is committed to being a strong leader and collaborator within the industry as evidenced by her participation with numerous agriculture and food-related boards. Along with her husband, Greg, and daughter Abigail, Ms. Donahue operates a grain farm in Biggar, Saskatchewan

Mr. Richard Gray is a Professor in the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics at University of Saskatchewan. Richard's family experience in Saskatchewan agriculture spans several generations. After completing his Master's Degree, Richard worked for five years as a grain market analyst for Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food. After then completing his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, Richard was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Saskatchewan in 1990. He has published in the areas of agricultural trade, agricultural marketing, and environmental economics. Over time, his research and his graduate students' research has increasingly focused on various aspects of agricultural research and innovation systems. From 2003 until 2013, Richard led the Canadian Agricultural Innovation Research Network and regularly provides advice to farm organizations and government regarding innovation policy and research funding models. In his spare time Richard helps his son Eric operate the family grain farm at Indian Head, Saskatchewan. In 2010 he was recognized as Fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.

Mr. Claude Lafleur is an agro-economist and MBA graduate, who is currently director of many corporations and an angel investor. Previously, Claude Lafleur served in the capacity of Chief Executive Officer with La Coop fédérée, the largest agri-food organization in Québec. Under his leadership, the aggregate business volume of the organization, which today employs close to 12,200 individuals, grew from $3.2 billion to $6.0 billion. From 1991 to 1998, Claude served in the capacity of Director General of l'Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec (UPA). Claude Lafleur is President of a privately owned consulting company (Gestion Piroches-sur-Mer) and co-owner of a family farm in Charlevoix.

Mr. David Rourke started Ag-Quest Inc. in 1983, after graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Masters in Plant Science in 1981. He established Ag-Quest Inc. on the basis of doing quality work and has instilled that value in all members of the research team. David served as Project Coordinator for the Canada Grains Council from 1985 to 1993, Director of the Conservation Tillage Productivity Center from 1991 to 1995, and reviewer for the Expert Committee on Weeds. He is currently Chair of the Western Feed Grain Development Co-op Ltd. David continues to give direction and vision to the entire team at Ag-Quest and also maintains an active role on his 5,000-acre grain farm in Minto, Manitoba. David and Diane, his wife of 41 years, have four children and seven grandchildren. Besides his family, David has two passions. One is to be a leader in regenerative organic agriculture with the goal of increasing profits fourfold by enhancing soil health and maintaining or improving overall output compared with conventional farms. Ultimately he aims to eliminate net carbon emissions on his farm through sequestration. The second passion is working on developing bioplastics. David has set up a prototyping facility with up to 20,000-litre bioreactors. David believes that we must all reduce our use of fossil fuels by 90% if this planet is to remain habitable.

Mr. Michel R. Saint-Pierre is on the board of directors of several organizations and is President of the 5th World Congress of Agronomist and Professionals in Agronomy. He is the former Deputy Minister of l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation for Quebec (2004-2008), President and CEO, Financière Agricole du Québec (2003-2004) and CEO, Centre d'insémination artificielle du Québec (2000-2003). From 1988 to 1999 he served as President and Chair of the Board of the Societé de Financement Agricole, formerly Office du Crédit Agricole, and from 1989 to 1994 he was President of the Administrative Council journal Affaires Agricoles. He is a former Member of the Central Committee of the International Confederation of Agricultural Credit and author of Rapport Saint –Pierre on revenue security in agriculture.

Mr. Larry Simpson is the Associate Regional Vice President and Director of Strategic Philanthropy and Conservation — Alberta Region for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Larry joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada in May 1990 as Western Regional Director. During his tenure with the Nature Conservancy of Canada more than 1,500,000 acres have been conserved and more than $135 million raised to advance conservation. Raised on a farm in southwest Alberta, Larry obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta in 1979. Prior to joining NCC he worked in the oil and gas sector negotiating oil and gas deals as a Senior Land Negotiator with Amoco Canada Petroleum Limited. In 2012, the Emerald Awards Foundation recognized Larry for his extraordinary commitment to conservation. In 2015, Venture magazine listed Larry as one of the top 50 most influential people in Alberta, something usually reserved for people who excel in business or community work.

Ms. Deborah Stark is the former Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). During her public service career, she held various senior leadership roles within OMAFRA and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), including a term as Ontario's first chief veterinary officer. She has served as a Trustee and Chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Pension Trust, Chair of Hospice Wellington, and on the boards of the Veterinary Infectious Diseases Organization and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. She is currently on the Board of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association.

Ms. Suzanne Vinet is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Genome Quebec. She recently retired from the federal public service. Her most recent positions being Deputy Minister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2012-2014), and Deputy Minister, Canada Economic Development for the regions of Quebec (2010-2012). She has also been Associate Deputy Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Associate Deputy Minister, Health Canada, among other positions. Suzanne began her public service career in 1984 with the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada where she gained extensive expertise in strategic and trade policy. Suzanne holds a bachelor of Arts Degree (Economics) from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She is a graduate of l'Institut de technologie agroalimentaire, St-Hyacinthe, Que.

Mr. John Weekes is an expert in international trade policy, trade agreements and the settlement of trade disputes. In 2010, John joined Bennett Jones LLP as a senior business adviser in the Ottawa office after working with Sidley Austin, an American law firm, at its Geneva office. John was Canada's ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 1995 to 1999 and chair of the WTO General Council in 1998. From 1991 to 1994 he served as Canada's chief negotiator for NAFTA. He was ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations and served as chair of the GATT Council in 1989 and chair of the Contracting Parties to GATT in 1990. From 2008-2015, he was a director of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency.


Mr. Ted Bilyea is Past Chair and Special Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI). He is an agri-food consultant specializing in innovation, with clients in both the private and public sectors. He was formerly the Executive Vice-President of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Mr. Bilyea serves on the board of Paterson Global Foods and is a former member of the board of Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Cold-Fx, and the University of Guelph. He is the past recipient of the H.R. MacMillan Laureate in Agriculture from the University of Guelph. He holds a B.A. (Hons.) and an M.A. in International Relations from York University.

Mr. Rory Francis is Special Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI). He is the Executive Director of PEI BioAlliance Inc. Mr. Francis has 30 years experience in professional, management and leadership roles in the public and private sectors. As an experienced senior executive, he has led transformative change in several public sector organizations encompassing economic and social policy, programs and services.


The governance of CAPI currently includes an Advisory Committee, appointed by the Board of Directors and drawn from industry groups, non-government organizations, policy research networks and other organizations. Committee members include:

Ms. Joanne Bays
National Manager
Farm to Cafeteria Canada
Mr. Marcel Groleau
L'Union des producteurs agricoles
Mr. Ron Bonnett
Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Mr. Rory McAlpine
Vice President, Government & Industry Relations
Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Mr. Perry Caicco
former Managing Director,
Equity Markets
CIBC World Markets
Dr. Murray McLaughlin
Executive Director
Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (Ont.)
Mr. Vincent Cloutier
Strategic Advisor to management
Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec
Mr. Derek Tallon
Primary Producer
Ms. Elspeth Copeland
Elspeth Copeland Consulting
Mr. Garth Whyte
President & CEO
Fertilizer Canada
Mr. Jean-Claude Dufour, Ph.D.
Faculty of Sciences, Agriculture and Nutrition
Université Laval

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, an ex-officio member, is represented by the Deputy Minister.


Dr. Donald Buckingham, President and CEO
Ms. Tulay Yildirim, Director, Policy Research Partnerships
Ms. Kim Kelly, Director, Corporate Services
Ms. Louise de Vynck, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO /
   Communications Coordinator

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The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute    •    960 Carling Avenue, CEF Building 49, Room 318    •    Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6
info@capi-icpa.ca    •    Telephone: 613-232-8008 or toll-free 1-866-534-7593    •    Fax: 613-232-8008
Risk and Reward: Food Safety and NAFTA 2.0

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Understanding Agricultural Support (2017)
Summary Report

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Canada as an Agri-Food Powerhouse (2017)
Roundtable Synthesis

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Embrace or Reject It – the Implications of New Technology Adoption for Canada's Agri-Food Future (2017)
Synthesis Report of Workshop

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Synthesis Report of CAPI-AAFC Workshop on Strategies to Reduce Net GHG Emissions in Agriculture (2017)

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Synthesis Report of 3 Workshops (2016)

Organized by CAPI and the Agriculture Policy Research Community

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Achieving What's Possible for Canada's Agri-Food Sector (2016)
Final report on the Forum on Canada's Agri-food Future

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Competing in the World's No. 1 Emerging Market. (2015)
A report on a trade mission to China

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Taking the Sector from Trade Deficits to a Competitive Resurgence (2014)
Projects 7 and 8 of the Processed Food Sector Research Program
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Understanding the Processed Food Trade Balance (2013)
A CAPI Research Program report
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Municipal food policy entrepreneurs (2013)
by Rod MacRae and Kendal Donahue
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The State of Canada's Processed Food Sector:
Trade Balance
Report prepared by Douglas Hedley, PhD, and CAPI
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Canada's Beef Food System:
A Roadmap for Dialogue on Strategy
A CAPI report
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Canada's Agri-Food Destination:
A CAPI report
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Canada's Agri-Food Destination:
A New Strategic Approach
Report prepared by CAPI
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Building Convergence:
Toward an Integrated Health and Agri-Food Strategy for Canada
By The McGill World Platform for Health and Economic Convergence for CAPI
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Adapting Agriculture to Climate Variability:
Executive Summary
Conference summary by Gary Lemme, David McInnes, and Tony Szumigalski
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