Pursuing Food Sovereignty in Canada Amidst the Trade Agreements: A Case Analysis of CELA's Model Local Food Act
Policymakers and advocates of food sovereignty alike argue that the trade agreements to which Canada is a party restrict the potential to develop government-sponsored local food policies; however, there is growing academic support for the view that there is some latitude in the agreements that can be exploited through creative legislative drafting. Using the Canadian Environmental Law Association's (CELA) proposed Model Local Food Bill for Ontario as a case study, this paper argues that by integrating local and sustainable measures, policymakers may be able to develop local food programs without violating Canada's trade commitments. Recommendations are made as to how the Model Bill could be modified so as to further food sovereignty goals while evading trade complaints; these recommendations are categorized as efficiency, substitution, or redesign stage initiatives, to identify the challenges of implementing each of the measures if they were to be included in a modified bill. Though one of the goals of this paper was to propose specific language for each of the measures, the nature of trade disputes and the actual content of the Model Bill restricted this author's ability to do so; this is an area for future examination.