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A few months ago, France made headlines by becoming the first country in the world to prohibit supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, requiring them to donate it instead. While there is (currently) no such law in Canada, Moisson Montreal has taken it upon itself to address this issue within its community.

Moisson Montreal is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1984, and that has now grown to become the largest food bank in Canada. In 2013, it began to operate the Food Recovery Program as a pilot project, with Loblaws, donating their unsold foodstuffs to Moisson instead of throwing them out or composting them.

Now in operation for more than two years, the program has recovered close to 855 tons of food, which represents savings of more than $8 million for the Moisson's accredited community organizations.

In 2015, Moisson Montreal received funding from CIRA's Community Investment Program to initiate an innovative online training program that teaches supermarket employees and managers how they can reduce food waste.

How the system works

The food, which is mostly meat, is brought to the Moisson facility, where it is sorted, repacked and redistributed to local community agencies that help those in need.

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A photo of the Moisson Montreal warehouse facility

The food recovery program in supermarkets involves a lot of training for employees, both at supermarkets and at Moisson facilities across Quebec. Through this virtual training program, users learn more about food conservation and how they can safely and efficiently redirect unused food to food banks.

“The funding that was offered to us allows us to deliver this training program to a variety of stakeholders, any time and in various formats. It also represents a guarantee that people are made aware of the traceability of food, the cold chain security methods that we must respect and the security impacts of manipulating the food at the stores and at our centres.” – Alexandra Dupré, Head of Food Recovery and Logistics, Moisson Montreal.

Offering the training program online has enabled Moisson to scale up their impact

CIRA's Community Investment Program supports innovative projects like the one operated by Moisson Montreal across the country. It offers grants to organizations that work on community projects that help to build a stronger, safer and more accessible Internet for all Canadians.

This funding helps us to deploy the program on a larger scale across Québec. We would not have been able to create this unique online training program without this support. It has allowed us to offer interactive training at every grocery store in order to train their employees, and at all Moisson members in Quebec. The program has represented a significant financial investment for us, and it has saved us a lot of time.

For some employees of supermarkets or Moissons, this was their first time taking part in a virtual training session. “They become engaged in the training program and take pride in what they do. They talk about it with their networks, which helps to increase awareness of the issue of food waste within our community”, Dupré points out.

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A Moisson Montreal employee takes the online Food Waste and Safety training course

For more information, read the press release.

A portion of the proceeds from .CA domain registrations is used to fund innovative projects that give back to Canadian communities through our Community Investment Program. Read more about the projects funded with grants from the Community Investment Program, including the Moisson Montreal project.