Integrative Governance for Ecological Public Health: An Analysis of ‘Food Policy for Canada’ (2015-2019)
Keywords:food policy; ecological public health; Food Policy for Canada
Normatively grounded in the ecological public health paradigm, this paper speaks to the role of public policy in addressing food and nutrition-related health challenges through a critical analysis of the 2019 Food Policy for Canada (FPC). We draw on primary data gathered through a SSHRC-funded Partnership Grant, Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE). Qualitative research methods include interviews with key stakeholders and policy makers, critical review of national food policy consultation documents, participant observation in government-, industry- and civil society-led conversations about the food policy, as well as an investigation of stakeholder responses to the FPC announcements of 2019. Our analysis focuses on how Canada’s new food policy: adopts an integrative, pan-Canadian approach; explicitly connects health and environmental dimensions of food; augments food security in a systematic way; addresses unique food security and health issues facing Indigenous Peoples; improves the health of food environments, such as those in Canada’s schools; and, meaningfully includes relevant stakeholders in food system governance. Against these expectations, we assert that the Food Policy for Canada does not yet provide an integrative, systems-based approach to addressing food and nutrition-related health issues consistent with the ecological public health approach, despite significant progress made. We conclude by proposing a research agenda for tracking Canada’s food policy implementation and development going forward.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Peter Andree
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