Canada's Second Annual Food Law & Policy Conference
2-4 November, Ottawa, ON
Without a doubt, law and legal actors—including lawyers, researchers, policy makers, adjudicators, advocacy organizations and others—already occupy influential positions in the food space. But these actors frequently approach food systems from a particular discipline or perspective, such as agriculture, health and safety, regulation and innovation, poverty and social justice, or environmental planning. As a result, food law and policy in Canada has yet to develop around a clear understanding of its participants or its diverse sites of action. The second annual conference of its kind, Taking Stock: The State of Food Law and Policy in Canada provides an important opportunity to reflect on the current state of food laws and policies in Canada and strategize about how to improve them.
This conference comes at a critical juncture for Canada’s food systems and the laws and policies that govern them. After years of lobbying by civil society, the Trudeau government, led by the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food, has begun to draft a National Food Policy. The federal government is also in the process of revising the Canada Food Guide and the Safe Food for Canadians Act. At the same time, the Innovation and Skills Plan, established as part of the 2017 federal budget, “has set an ambitious target to grow Canada’s agri-food exports to at least $75 billion annually by 2025”. This year also marks the 5th anniversary of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food’s assessment of Canada’s food system and recommendations for improving governance to realize the right to food for all. This conference provides an important opportunity for civil society and the legal community to contribute to the ongoing re-thinking and redesigning of our food systems.
The objectives of the conference are to:
- Provide the expertise, knowledge and innovative thinking to assist the government to strategically develop effective, sustainable and fair food law and policy in Canada;
- Connect government policy makers with experienced academics, practitioners and experts in civil society;
- Analyze and strategize on long-standing issues of food injustice, oppression, sovereignty and hunger in Canada;
- Include Indigenous, gendered, and other marginalized perspectives in the dialogue;
- Address emerging issues arising from technologies and other innovations in this area;
- Examine new developments in case law and regulation that are impacting industry, producers, and consumers;
- Consider the relationship between Canadian food law and policy and international law and trade, including the question of how economic, health, social justice, and environmental goals can be reconciled in terms of global food systems governance;
- Contribute to the establishment and growth of a network of experts and a research agenda on “Food Law” in Canada – we will hold a workshop on building a national Food Law and Policy Association to ensure continued interactions of the network of scholars and experts beyond the annual conference;
- Produce concrete, practicable proposals for the current evolution of food law and policy in Canada;
- Enhance the teaching of food law in Canada – we will hold a workshop on Teaching Food Law and will gather sample curricula, with a view to exchanging best practices and documenting various approaches and teaching tools into an accessible online resource.
We look forward to welcoming participants to Ottawa in November.