Governance recommendations from forty years of national food strategy development in Canada and beyond

  • Peter Andrée Carleton University, Ontario
  • Mary Coulas Carleton University, Ontario
  • Patricia Ballamingie Carleton University, Ontario
Keywords: national food policy council, national food policy, Canadian food policy


This paper contributes to Canada’s current national food policy discussion by introducing lessons gleaned from the development of two earlier Canadian government food policy efforts, A Food Strategy for Canada (1977) and Canada’s Action Plan for Food Security (1998), as well as lessons drawn from national food strategy development in seven other countries. By examining the strengths and weaknesses of these previous policy-making processes, we show how today’s food policy conversation builds on the legacy of 1998's Action Plan. We then offer food policy governance recommendations designed to avoid the mistakes of the previous efforts. This paper explores international precedents for governance mechanisms designed to be inclusive of key food systems’ stakeholders, and to meaningfully include multiple levels of government in food governance. Drawing on both our domestic and international research, we conclude by recommending the establishment of a multi-sectoral and inter-governmental National Food Policy Council. We show how such a Council, operating in close cooperation with other key mechanisms, could help govern the pan-Canadian food strategy we advocate.