At the end of the day, FTOÉ’s main mission is to achieve Fair Trade Town status for the City of Ottawa. In order to secure this status, these five goals (set forth by Fairtrade Canada) need to be achieved:
1. Municipal support
2. Product availability
3. Community support
4. Public awareness
5. Steering committee
The Fair Trade Town goals explained
To fulfill this requirement, City Council must pass a motion that commits to sourcing fair trade products for City-run venues and businesses on City property (such as the café inside City Hall). The three required products are currently coffee, tea and sugar. Some towns that are already designated Fair Trade Towns expand on this over time and this is our hope as well, once we achieve the status.
This requirement is in place because it is important to support fair trade producers. After all, they’re exactly why fair trade exists to begin with! To achieve Fair Trade Town status, each town must calculate a number (per capita) of stores that sell fair trade products and businesses that serve them. For Ottawa, those numbers are approximately 100 retail locations and approximately 50 restaurants/cafés. We are pleased to say that we have met this requirement since we did our first audit of Ottawa businesses in 2012! Availability has only grown since that time, which we are very pleased about, to say the least!
It is important that a town be treated like a community, because it is one! The various elements of any community—schools, businesses, faith groups and much more—must all work together to ensure that Fair Trade Town status benefits as many people as possible. For this reason, any town seeking Fair Trade Town status must demonstrate that a certain number of local community groups (again calculated per capita) is also sourcing fair trade and supporting fair trade initiatives. In Ottawa, we need to demonstrate that at least 50 groups support fair trade in tangible ways.
We are very proud to say that both major universities (the University of Ottawa and Carleton University) have Fair Trade Campus status, with other local campuses still a work in progress. Additionally, many high schools, temples, businesses and nonprofit organizations have worked with us to advance fair trade education and demand over the years. La Siembra (makers of Camino chocolate), Rainbow Foods and Market Organics are all local businesses that have Fair Trade Workplace status through Fairtrade Canada. As you can see, we’re in pretty good shape!
In order to ensure that the most impact is made, anyone seeking Fair Trade Town status must ensure that they are doing education and outreach in the community. This includes making sure that we are engaging with the media (see our news archives here!) and holding events that the general public can attend and learn more about fair trade. Since 2011, we have held dozens of such events, sometimes even partnering with local businesses, schools, NGOs and faith groups in the process. We also work closely with local groups who are pursuing their own status (Fair Trade School, Workplace or Faith Group, for example) so that we can support them. While we feel that our track record already speaks for itself, we have no intention of settling for the status quo! We will continue to increase public education around fair trade, as it can only yield more support for fair trade producers!
The final requirement for Fair Trade Town status is that a steering committee be formed. The reason is simple: someone has to ensure that there is accountability, and that the Fair Trade Town status of Ottawa only continues to grow! The committee must be made up of representatives of various groups: community representatives, a person from City Hall, students, local business owners and so on. This way, the committee is as strong as possible, with as many different perspectives represented as possible. If you’d like to see who’s on FTOÉ’s leadership already, you can view our core team on the our team page!
How you can help
Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable is 100% volunteer-run and is always looking for passionate, committed volunteers. If you wish to volunteer with us, please visit our get involved page!