OverviewStimulating Agri-Food Policy
The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is the place for agri-food leaders to come together, share insights and advance ideas on emerging issues facing this important sector. Established as an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit corporation in 2004 with an initial grant from the federal government, CAPI is guided by a diverse Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee and works extensively with partners to fulfill its mandate.
CAPI’s work reflects systems thinking, researching complex and interconnected food issues, bringing diverse voices to the table — from across agri-food supply chains, governments, researchers and among adjacent sectors. By providing reference points, source material and education for all stakeholders, CAPI is helping to ensure growth and prosperity in the agri-food industry for generations to come.
“Advancing Canada’s complex agri-food system requires futuristic thinking and open dialogue among the players of the entire food system.”Dr. Donald Buckingham
Mission, Vision, & ValuesIndependent. Neutral. Trusted.
CAPI provides a trusted place to hold dialogues, generate perspectives, and develop sound future-looking policy options for the Canadian food system.
Lead, catalyze and coordinate independent strategic and policy analysis on emerging agri-food issues, engage stakeholders in dialogue, and advance public policy.
Global leadership in trusted sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance the health, wealth and well-being of Canadians.
Neutrality, Independence, Engagement and Professionalism.
Board of DirectorsGovernance & Guidance
The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is overseen by a Board of Directors with broad expertise in the agriculture and agri-food sector.
Chantelle Donahue Chair
Chantelle Donahue is the Vice President and Commercial Seed Manager for Cargill Global Edible Oil Solutions – Specialties. Chantelle brings over 19 years of experience to her current role and her previous roles include Vice President of Corporate Affairs in Canada, supply chain and general management at Prairie Malt Limited, merchandizing for Cargill Limited and various roles which focused on agriculture research. Chantelle is committed to being a strong leader and collaborator within the industry as evidenced by her recent induction in the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame and Director role on the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute. She has held many past roles in numerous grain sector related boards including as a Director on several commodity value chain organizations, processing industry associations, Co‐Chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops, Past‐Chair of the Canada Grains Council, Advisor for Advancing Women in Agriculture Project, among others. Chantelle has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta, where she obtained a double major in Marketing and Agriculture Economics. Along with her husband Greg, Chantelle operates a grain and oilseed farm in Biggar, Saskatchewan. She is the proud mother of her daughters, Abby and Sally.
Stephanie Hamelin Vice-Chair
Stephanie Hamelin is committed to innovation and to individual and team entrepreneurship. She is one of the founding members of Université Laval’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Training Platform, an initiative that equips entrepreneurs for leadership and business success. She currently sits on and has previously served on multiple boards of directors, committees of qualitative associations and organizations, including the Fonds coopératif d’aide à la relève agricole and Idée Éducation Entrepreneuriale. Since she has worked in various key positions in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec within financial institutions, including her current position at the National Bank of Canada, she now has over 20 years of experience in management, business strategies, marketing and financing. Her creative leadership enables her to design effective, innovative business strategies that produce results. As such, she is building the trust of an increasing number of entrepreneurs and business partners in the agri-food industry in Quebec and Canada. Ms. Hamelin is an agro-economist who graduated from the Université Laval and has an Executive MBA.
Andrea Barnett Board Member
Andrea Barnett is a rancher on a 1200 head 5th generation cow-calf operation in rural British Columbia. Andrea has 15 years of experience working in conservation and natural resources and brings an understanding of the higher-level context and need for conservation, specific knowledge of existing strategies, relationships with partners, an appreciation of the ‘big picture’ as well as a skilled and muscular attitude toward identifying and tackling the details. Andrea is currently the Coordinator of the Target One Funders Collaborative where she acts as a central coordinating body for 30 foundations involved in assisting Canada reach its Convention on Biological Diversity targets. She has previously held roles such as Senior Advisor and Coordinator of the Land Stewardship Committee of the BC Cattlemen’s Association, Sessional Instructor on Natural Resource Law, Policy and Planning at Thompson Rivers University. Andrea was also Head of Industry and Government Relations for British Columbia with Ducks Unlimited Canada and National Policy Analyst with Ducks Unlimited Canada. Andrea has experience working with First Nations on Land Use issues through her work as Industry Analyst and Communications Coordinator with the BC Cattlemen’s Association. Andrea holders a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Victoria, a Master of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University and a Results Centered Leadership Certificate from The Delphi Group. Andrea is fluent in both English and French.
Julie Bissonnette Board Member
Julie Bissonnette has been President of the FRAQ (La Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec) since 2018 and has been involved in the network for almost 10 years now. Born on a dairy farm near Montreal, Julie cares deeply about farming. After graduating from the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire (ITA), the Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec campus in 2013, she has worked in various areas of agriculture. She now helps her spouse on his dairy farm that started up in 2014, near Drummondville. She also works as an agricultural technician for an agri-environmental club. Most of her professional time is taken up with activities arising from these pursuits. Whether as an administrator at La Financière Agricole du Québec, as a representative on the Canadian Young Farmers Forum, on the general council of the Union des Producteurs Agricoles or even as chair of the Trust of the Réseau express Métropolitain (REM), Julie’s passions are defending the interests of young farmers, and improving their daily lives, especially their future.
Bill Buckner Board Member
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: CAPI (Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute) in Ottawa, Canada, CASG (Canada Asia Synergy Group) in Edmonton, Canada, Lykes Bros.Inc in Tampa, USA, and E. Ritter & Company in Memphis, USA. Mr. Buckner was inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2015.
Elaine Feldman Board Member
Elaine Feldman is a Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. Before retiring from the public service in 2013, she was President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Prior to that, Elaine held a number of positions at Foreign Affairs and International Trade, in Ottawa and abroad, including Assistant Deputy Minister for North America (Ottawa, 2008-2010) and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the World Trade Organization (Geneva, 1995-2000). During her career in the federal public service, Elaine led a number of trade negotiations, including the negotiations over softwood lumber with the United States and the free trade negotiations with Mercosur and the Americas (Free Trade Area of the Americas). Elaine served as Vice-Chair of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal from 2005-2007. She also led federal/provincial/territorial negotiations for new labour market agreements from 2007 to 2008. Elaine holds degrees in common and civil law from McGill University as well as a BA from Bryn Mawr College. She participated in the École Nationale d’Administration’s program (Paris) for foreigners as the representative of Canada’s public service. She has been a panelist on four WTO dispute settlement panels and is a member of the roster for NAFTA Chapter 19 panels and for the CETA chapter on Environmental disputes.
Rory McAlpine Board Member
Rory McAlpine is Senior Vice President, Government and Industry Relations with Maple Leaf Foods. In this role, Mr. McAlpine has overall responsibility for working with government and industry partners on matters of public policy, programs, regulatory affairs and trade. Mr. McAlpine brings to Maple Leaf Foods a wealth of experience gained during more than 30 years of working in government, trade and agribusiness. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. McAlpine served as Deputy Minister of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries from 2002 to 2005. He also obtained significant experience with the Federal Government as Executive Director and Director General, International Trade Policy Directorate; Director Grains and Oilseeds Division; and Deputy Director Multilateral Trade with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Mr. McAlpine also held the position of Executive Director of the National Farm Products Council and was a Trade Commissioner with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, with postings in Kuwait, Bangkok, Brussels, Edmonton and Ottawa. Mr. McAlpine serves on a number of boards including the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, VIDO-InterVac (University of Saskatchewan), Food from Thought (University of Guelph) and the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security. Mr. McAlpine holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Kim McConnell Board Member
Mr. Kim McConnell is a founder and the former CEO of AdFarm. Over the years, Kim has led national and international brand and marketing assignments, and has been the catalyst behind many major industry ventures including an initiative to build greater public trust in food and farming. Kim is also the recipient of many national business awards. In 2012 he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. And in 2017 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian award. Kim is also a director on a number of corporate, crown, industry and volunteer boards. Kim is passionate about agriculture, food, youth and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Jason Skotheim Board Member
Jason Skotheim is the Chair of the Board of SaskBarley Development Commission and the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. Jason also is a board member of the Western Grains Research Foundation and Chair of the Canadian Barley Research Coalition. Jason actively farms with his brother on a 4500 acre farm north of Prince Albert Saskatchewan growing barley, wheat and canola. He is also a founding owner of Horizon Manufacturing Inc., Saskatchewan’s only premium dry pet food manufacturer. Jason earned BSA and a MSc degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Saskatchewan.
Larry Simpson Board Member
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.
Deb Stark Board Member
Deborah (Deb) Stark is a leader and a learner with a lifelong interest in Canadian agriculture and the people who feed us. A former public servant, she served in various senior leadership roles including Ontario’s first Chief Veterinary Officer and Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). She is currently on several boards including the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, Ontario Genomics, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada’s Audit and Advisory Committee and the University of Guelph. Deb is a graduate of the University of Guelph (DVM), and Wilfrid Laurier University (MBA).
John Weekes Board Member
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.
StaffAgri-Food Expertise & Vision
We are helping agri-food players identify their pathways to achieve success. We support “champions” to further the work and build momentum for real change.
Ted Bilyea Interim President & CEO
Tülay Yildirim Director, Policy Research Partnerships
Kim Kelly Director, Corporate Services
Margaret Zafiriou Research Associate
Elise Bigley Coordinator, Research and Projects
Honorary MembersHonorary Members
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Farm Credit Canada
Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Michel R. Saint-Pierre
John F.T. Scott