Canada is the second-largest country by total area, with the world’s longest coastline. Despite our vast size and geographical diversity, our food systems remain deeply interconnected. The food we produce and consume often travels long distances. In the process, disruptions in supply chains, labour shortages, food safety concerns and extreme climate events in one area, can have ripple effects near and far, impacting how our food systems function as well as the availability and accessibility of food across the country.
For our 7th Canadian Association for Food Law and Policy conference – and our first above the 45th parallel – we will explore questions of interconnectedness in food systems. We will do so by decentering and recentering ourselves. More specifically, we will explore how interconnections may be experienced differently when examined from different perspectives and vantage points. For example, what can we learn about the state of our food systems and our modes of governance by foregrounding northern, rural, remote and Indigenous communities in our analysis? How can a deeper understanding of Indigenous food systems, laws and governance as well as their relationship to Canadian law inform our work? How do our relationships with the natural environment impact food systems, and conversely how do our relationships with food impact the natural environment?
Hosted by Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, this year’s conference will bring together scholars, practitioners, policymakers, students, community advocates and stakeholders from across the country for collective learning, conversations, connection and more. Possible topics of discussion could include, but are not limited to:
Governing supply chains in an era of multiple and ongoing crises (from labour shortages, to international conflicts, to pandemics etc.)
Adapting food safety regulations to respond to sustainability demands, human health concerns and technological innovations
Navigating pressing issues in agriculture law and policy, including sustainable production, big data, farmland inequality, consolidation and farmer succession planning
Tensions between harvesting and safeguarding fisheries
The impact of international trade and investment agreements – as well as Canada’s trade policies – in shaping food systems domestically and abroad
The role of northern urban centers, like Thunder Bay, in governing and participating in local, regional and national food systems
The legal challenges and opportunities facing Indigenous, northern, rural and remote food systems, as well as food systems actors, such as producers and harvesters, hunters and fishers, producers, entrepreneurs, processors, retailers and eaters
The intersections between food systems and human rights, particularly the rights of Indigenous Peoples