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.

Changes to the CAPI Board

OTTAWA, July 6, 2016 — The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Suzanne Vinet, Larry Simpson and John Weekes to the Institute's Board of Directors.

Their appointments bring new expertise and perspectives to CAPI: Ms. Vinet is a current Board member of Genome Quebec and a former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Mr. Simpson is the Director of Strategic Philanthropy and Conservation and the Associate Regional Vice President, Alberta, for the Nature Conservancy of Canada; and Mr. Weekes is a Senior Business Advisor for Government International Trade Issues at Bennett Jones LLP and was Canada's chief negotiator for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Their biographies are outlined below.

"The appointment of these three respected individuals to the Board reflects CAPI's desire to attract leading thinkers on policy, strategy and advocates for change," says Ted Bilyea, Chair.

David McInnes, President and CEO, adds, "Their insight and guidance will be vital as we continue to change the national conversation on the future of Canada's agri-food sector." CAPI's most recent work declares that competitive advantage will be increasingly determined by enhancing "trust" — reliably producing more without depleting natural capital as well as responding to varied consumer food concerns and improving the nutritional quality of food.

The new appointments were confirmed at CAPI's Annual General Meeting, which was held in Guelph, Ont., on June 22. This brings the total number of Directors to 11. CAPI and the Board of Directors also wish to thank Rory Francis, Peter Hannam and Bob Jamieson, whose terms on the Board have been concluded. Rory Francis will remain as a Special Advisor to the Board.


Mr. Larry Simpson
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. Suzanne Vinet
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
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.

John is a member of the Management Board of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law in Geneva and serves in an advisory capacity to the Washington-based Cordell Hull Institute. From 2008-2015, he was a director of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency.

About CAPI
The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is an independent, unbiased policy forum that is dedicated to the success of Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. CAPI is a catalyst. It identifies emerging issues, promotes dialogue and advances alternative solutions to issues with stakeholders across diverse agri-food supply chains and among other food stakeholders. Based in Ottawa, CAPI was established as a not-for-profit corporation in 2004 by the federal government and is guided by a diverse Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee.

For more information, please contact:
David McInnes
President & Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute
(613) 759-1038 / (866) 534-7593

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