CELA Welcomes Improved Ontario Local Food Act as reintroduced – suggests some additional improvements

Mar 26 2013

Toronto - CELA welcomes the reintroduction of the Government’s Local Food Bill yesterday, but notes that some additional amendments would improve the Bill, as outlined in CELA’s Model Local Food Bill.

The new Bill includes one enhancement from its last iteration as Bill 130, which died on the order paper as a result of prorogation in 2012. The new Bill now requires the government to report on its website at least every three years on local food activities and on progress towards achieving local food targets or goals.

The new Bill, like its predecessor, gives the government the option to set local food goals or targets and establishes a local food week.

“The Government’s reintroduction of a somewhat strengthened local food bill is commendable and an opportunity that CELA believes is critically important to the health of Ontarians, and for Ontario’s economic and environmental health” says Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel and Executive Director at CELA.

Joseph Castrilli, Counsel at CELA, notes that “the bill, although slightly improved from its previous iteration, would significantly benefit from stronger legislative language, greater accountability, and a broader scope.”

“The Government should review and apply the model legislative language included in CELA’s Model Local Food Bill. CELA’s Model Bill provides for mandatory target-setting, requires public participation, increased local procurement, effective governance, and ensures government accountability by requiring reports to be tabled before the Legislature, among other things” stated Kyra Bell-Pasht, Counsel at CELA and co-author of CELA’s Model Local Food Bill.

CELA’s Model Local Food Bill, developed in consultation with local food stakeholders throughout Ontario and based on leading local food policies from other jurisdictions, addresses several areas not covered in the government’s reintroduced bill. The Model Bill addresses:

  • local food education, to ensure youth are educated about the relationship between local food systems, the environment, and their health;
  • local food distribution, to ensure greater access to local food and local farmer access to markets; and
  • healthy food and farming programs, to ensure environmentally sound farming and food processing practices are adequately supported by government. 

About the Canadian Environmental Law Association: CELA is a specialty Legal Aid clinic that provides environmental legal assistance and law reform efforts in the public interest.

CELA’s Model Local Food Bill is available here.
The Ontario Government’s reintroduced Local food Bill is available here.

For more information, please contact: Joe Castrilli (416) 960-2284 x 218, castrillij@sympatico.ca