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RFP: Contract Position for a Researcher, Toronto Food Policy Council

Proposal And Project Purpose

The Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) seeks a researcher who can investigate mechanisms by which the quality and variety of foods offered for sale by street food vendors can be improved. This investigation will include an examination of existing by-laws and regulations that affect street food vending in Toronto, as well as an examination of the factors that enable street vendors in other jurisdictions to offer a greater variety of foods.

Key Deliverables

The researcher will work with a committee of the TFPC, with the TFPC Project Coordinator, and a food-safety manager with Toronto Public Health Healthy Environments on an as-needed basis (probably about three times, less than eight hours total) to plan and conduct the research and to review a draft of the summary report. These meetings will identify the range of topics to be evaluated for the report and strategies for evaluating criteria that seem most important.

At a minimum, the requirements will include

1) an examination of the existing City of Toronto by-laws and licensing practices that govern the current street food vendors;

2) an examination of food safety regulations, including provincial regulations, as they apply to street food vendors and mobile preparation premises;

3) an identification of positive practices and regulations from at least five other jurisdictions whose street food vendors offer a greater variety of healthy "street foods"--snacks and meals featuring fruit, vegetables and whole grains--than seen on Toronto streets; and

4) a written report.

Notes of interviews and photocopies of key documents will be appended to the report, providing there are no confidentiality agreements preventing this.

A report meeting the expectations outlined in an initial meeting between the researcher and TFPC representatives will be submitted by December 31, 2003.

The TFPC is a group of 24 citizen volunteers who use their experience in a range of food-sector activities to develop innovative policies and project initiatives that foster food security and promote the objectives of the Toronto Food Charter (see Council members are appointed by the Toronto Board of Health. Their work is supported by staff and other resources made available by Toronto Public Health. For more information on the TFPC, please visit

TFPC members believe that increased availability of healthy street foods might help advance several important goals. People who need to eat something on the run could have access to a variety of healthy snack or meal options. Foods adapted to the cultural and social make-up of the area could be featured. The low costs of overhead could keep costs reasonable. Operating the street food carts could provide employment opportunities. Perhaps purchase of locally-grown food could be encouraged. And so on. At the same time, TFPC members are aware of challenges and barriers to the proliferation of healthy street food carts. Food safety is an issue. As well, main street retailers may see street food retailers, who pay lower overheads and taxes, as unfair competition. There are differences of opinion on the best ways to optimize entrepreneurial opportunities while protecting both food safety and working conditions of operators.

In addition, the Community Services Committee, at its meeting on July 3, 2003, "directed that the Medical Officer of Health be requested to change the by-law that governs food vending in the City of Toronto to allow diversity of food, such as corn, to be served, and further that the Toronto Food Policy Council and FoodShare be invited to comment on such change."

Before developing a proposal to optimize the positives of street food

expansion while managing any of the risks, TFPC members need to know how other jurisdictions have designed laws, regulations and practices to meet both the opportunities and challenges.

Core Competencies of the Researcher

It is expected that the successful applicant will have the skills to

conduct a by-law and food-regulation review and carry out international electronic searches for material coming largely from municipal governments in other jurisdictions on the subject of street food vendors. In addition, basic skills in interviewing will be necessary to gather and analyze data. The successful applicant will also be a competent writer. Experience working with a citizens' committee is an asset.


The applicant should clearly identify the anticipated fees to carry out this project.

Applicant Iformation

Interested applicants are asked to submit

* a letter of interest

* resume

* names of references and previous clients who can be contacted

* expected remuneration (including GST, if applicable)

* sample of previous research work

Please send this material to

Leslie Toy

Toronto Food Policy Council

277 Victoria St, Suite 203

Toronto, ON M5B 1W2

Tel: (416) 392-1107

Fax:(416) 392-1357