Federalism and fragmentation: Addressing the possibilities of a food policy for Canada

Canadian Food Studies

21 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2020 Last revised: 4 May 2020

See all articles by Sarah Berger Richardson

Sarah Berger Richardson

University of Ottawa - Civil Law Section

Nadia Lambek

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Students; Yale University - Law School

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Canadian federalism poses unique challenges for the development of a national food policy. Under the Constitution Act, 1867, the federal government and the provinces are granted powers to govern exclusively in certain areas and to share jurisdiction in others. Where one level of government has exclusive jurisdiction, the other level of government is not permitted to interfere. However, good food system governance requires addressing policy coherence and coordination horizontally, across sectors such as agriculture, trade, health, finance, environment, immigration, fisheries, social protection, and vertically between the federal government, the provinces, and international and transnational actors. The development of a national food policy for Canada offers an opportunity to harmonize law and policymaking, and clarify the key roles that all levels of government play in the development and governance of food systems. This will require identifying sites of conflict and overlap, but also spaces for collaboration, coordination, and innovation. A national food policy will necessarily have to work within the constraints of Canadian constitutional law, but federalism and the division of powers can be harnessed to create a more just, equitable, democratic, and sustainable food system.

Keywords: Federalism, food law and policy, divisions of power, fragmentation, democratic experimentalism, national food policy

Suggested Citation

Berger Richardson, Sarah and Lambek, Nadia, Federalism and fragmentation: Addressing the possibilities of a food policy for Canada (2018). Canadian Food Studies, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3585480

Sarah Berger Richardson (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Civil Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Dr
Ottawa
Canada

Nadia Lambek

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Students ( email )

Toronto
Canada

Yale University - Law School ( email )

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