UN to Investigate Canada’s Broken Food System


The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Olivier de Schutter, will be arriving in Canada this Saturday 5 May (until 16 May) to look into Canada’s record on the right to food. He will be meeting with government officials and a broad cross- section of civil society groups concerned with the right to food, as well as with Aboriginal peoples.

“Over two million Canadians do not have enough food to eat, and many people who live on government assistance cannot afford to eat a healthy diet. Farmers and fishers are going out of business, and food insecurity rates in many Northern communities are outrageously high. Recent government cutbacks have hit some of the most vulnerable people the hardest. Canada is failing to meet its legal obligations to fulfill the right to food”, said Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada (FSC). “We will be telling the Special Rapporteur that we need a national food strategy – and that thousands of people across the country have worked for several years to build the People’s Food Policy- the most comprehensive national food policy being advanced in Canada today. This is what needs to be put into practice.”

People across the country are eager to talk to the Special Rapporteur about the food-related problems in their communities, as well as the many innovative measures that the food movement is using to build better food systems. These include helping connect institutions with locally and sustainably grown-food, to urban gardens, school nutrition programs and community kitchens. This will be the first time the Special Rapporteur has undertaken a mission to an OECD country.

Food Secure Canada worked with members and partners to facilitate a joint submission for the Special Rapporteur by non-governmental organizations. The main issues identified by groups include poverty and access to healthy food, Aboriginal peoples, governance, the industrial food model and international issues.

FSC has also helped to organize meetings between the Special Rapporteur and civil society groups in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg. Additional background on his visit can be found here. Updates will be posted at www.foodsecurecanada.org. The Special rapporteur will be not be giving interviews about the situation in Canada until the end of his visit (May 16). Media wishing to be kept informed by his team should be in touch with Yoonie Kim (ykim@ohchr.org), copied to Nicolas Jacobs at Nicholas Jacobs (nicholas.jacobs@uclouvain.be.)

For more information or interviews:
Diana Bronson, 514 271 7352; cell: 514 629 9236; Diana@foodsecurecanada.org
Anna Paskal, Food Secure Canada: 514-889-2533; policy@foodsecurecanada.org

Current planned meetings with civil society

Dialogue between the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and Civil Society (national and Quebec focus)
Sunday May 6th – 9:30-15:00
Open to the media and the public
Location: Carrefour des arts et de sciences de l’Université de Montréal, room C-3061, Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, 3150 rue Jean-Brillant, Montréal (enter by le Pavillon 3200 Jean-Brillant)
Contacts: Jasmine Belanger-Gulick, REDTAC: jasmine.belanger-gulick@umontreal.ca, 514-343-6111 ex. 50711, Diana Bronson, Food Secure Canada: diana@foodsecurecanada.org, 514-629-9236

Governance Policies and Programmes that Impact the Right to Food
Monday May 7th, 17:30-20:30
Contact: Bruce Porter: bporter@socialrights.ca, (705) 783-4567

Canada and the right to food abroad: development cooperation, trade and investment
Tuesday May 8th, 14:00-16:00
Contact: Anna Paskal, Food Secure Canada: policy@foodsecurecanada.org, (514) 889-2533

Human Rights Impact Assessments
Tuesday May 15th, 17:00-18:30
Contact: Fraiser Reily-King: fraser@ccic.ca

Migrant workers (and other agricultural workers)
Wednesday May 9th, 13:00-14:30
Contact: Bruce Porter: bporter@socialrights.ca, (705) 783-4567

Economic Accessibility and the Right to Food
Wednesday May 9th, 15:00-18:30
Open to the media (no cameras or recorders)
Contact: Nick Saul, The Stop Community Food Centre: nick@thestop.org, (416) 652-7867

Children and Food
Wednesday May 9th, 19:00-21:00
Contact: Debbie Field, FoodShare Toronto: debbie@foodshare.net; (416) 576-7349

The Organization of Food Chains and its Impact on the Right to Food
Thursday May 10th, 18:00-20:00
Contact:  Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union: centaur2@sasktel.net, (306) 255-2880, Anna Weier, Manitoba Alternative Farming Research Alliance: weier.anna@gmail.com, (204) 297-0100

Poverty and the Right to Food
Friday May 11th, 12:00-14:00
Open to the public and the media
Location: Winnipeg Harvest, 1085 Winnipeg Avenue, Winnipeg
Contacts: Donald Benham: Donald.benham@winnipegharvest.org, (204) 982-3675; Kreesta Doucet, Food Matters Manitoba: kreesta@foodmattersmanitoba.ca,  (204) 772-0850; Jasmine Tara, North End Food Security Network: jasmine@necrc.org, (204) 228-2693