Taking Stock / Prenons la mesure

Taking Stock:
Call for Submissions


Our call for submissions has now closed. If you would like further information, please email conference@foodlaw.ca

A Call for Submissions for our Second Annual Food Law & Policy Conference

What is the state of food law and policy in Canada today? For the 2nd annual Canadian Food Law and Policy Conference we take stock of our food law and policy schemes – from the federal level through the provincial and territorial down to the municipal – and strategize ways to improve them.

Last year’s conference provided an opportunity to develop and define the field of food law and policy in Canada.  Our second conference allows us to go further and map the content, scope and reach of our food laws and policies.  It provides a unique opportunity to assess the ways our food laws, policies and regulatory tools are succeeding in building just, equitable, vibrant, innovative, resilient and sustainable food systems, while also documenting how they contribute to hunger, malnutrition, social exclusion, contamination, exploitation and environmental degradation.

The conference comes at a critical juncture for Canada’s food systems and the various laws and policies that govern them. This year – 2017 – marks five years from former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter’s visit to Canada and subsequent report to the UN, in which he raised concerns about systemic food insecurity across Canada (particularly in the North and for isolated communities), the health impacts of the current food system, and the lack of coordinated law and policy responses from all levels of government. It is an important moment to step back, see how far (or not far) we have come and reorganize.

This year also marks a crucial turning point for the national governance of our food systems. After years of lobbying by civil society, the Trudeau government, with the Department of Agricultural and Agri-Food taking the lead, have begun the process of developing a National Food Policy. Public consultations have begun and will continue, creating an important opportunity for civil society, industry and the legal community to participate in the development of our food systems. As a result, discussions about our current food systems, what sort of food systems we want, and how better food laws and policies can help us get there, have never been so relevant and urgent.

Finally, important developments in the regulation and trade of food domestically and internationally will reshape the practice of law in the food sector. For example, new labelling frameworks, including front of packaging labelling and nutritional informational labelling, will change the way food is packaged, sold and consumed in Canada. At the same time, the CFTA and CETA have vaulted Canada and its provinces into a new era of harmonization, while proposed regulations may change food safety and other legal requirements for businesses that import food, or that prepare food for import or cross-province distribution, with implications for the health and safety of Canadians (as well as those abroad) and for the food business sector.

From November 2-4, 2017, we will bring together thought leaders and stakeholders for a three-day national conference at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law to help chart the future of food law and policy in Canada.

Together, we will ask:

  • What role does law and policy play in governing our food systems?
  • What values currently underpin our food laws and policies?
  • In what ways are food laws, policies and regulatory tools succeeding in building just, equitable, vibrant, innovative, resilient and sustainable food systems?
  • In what ways do they contribute to hunger, malnutrition, social exclusion, contamination, exploitation and environmental degradation?
  • What new developments in case law and regulation are impacting industry, producers and consumers in food systems and where is government intervention lacking?
  • How are Canada’s food laws and policies impacting food systems abroad, how are they influenced by international and transnational laws and standards and what role does Canada play in global food system governance?
  • How can improved food laws and policies address failures in food system governance and what do these improved laws and policies look like?

Practitioners, scholars, policymakers, adjudicators, activists, students and other thought leaders are invited to submit individual- presentation or group-panel proposals of no more than 300 words on any topic related to the conference theme by June 9, 2017 to conference@foodlaw.ca. While conference papers will not be required, they are encouraged and will be published on the conference website. Any questions may be sent to the same address. We look forward to working with our partners in developing this exciting event, and to welcoming participants to Ottawa in November.


Not sure your content is suitable for this call?
Click here to see our 2016 program and speakers.


Practicing Lawyer?

In 2016 we offered 12 hours of accredited CPD Content on food law, delivered by top practitioners from Canada and the United States. Our interdisciplinary event enabled attendees to reach and to learn from a diverse group of policymakers, industry, and jurists.

Non-legal Scholar or Advocate?

This conference linked scholars with expertise in food sciences, public health, nutrition, environmental sciences, and many other disciplines with legal actors and scholars, providing a unique forum to present food research from a legal perspective.

From Industry, Government, or an NGO?

Our 2016 event provided attendees with critical legal perspectives and forecasts on current and upcoming challenges to our food systems. Attendees also gained insight on how actions by regulators, industry or non-state actors were changing our food laws and policies.

Legal Scholar or Jurist?

Our first conference created a network of food law scholars from 8 provinces and 7 countries. Our interdisciplinary event created an opportunity for scholars to engage with system actors and develop opportunities for policy entrepreneurship.