The short version


This can be used as the foundation for a short course on Canadian food policy change


Canada can arguable be described as a country that makes many commitments to many aspects of food system change, and then does little or does little effectively to implement those changes.  We have signed innumerable international commitments and conventions, and have a national food policy, but have failed to make much progress on creating a food system that is sustainable, health promoting and equitable.  Our food system problems remain numerous and significant (See Get Started, Problems).

My view is that we aren't so much lacking vision (admittedly there is some contestation but we're not terrible divergent in our views here), but rather the collective and institutional skills to plan and implement transitions to our visions.  Such transitions are complex, and we don't manage complexity well.  Compounding our problem, we are also in denial about our lack of skills with complexity management.  This lack of skill with transitions is nation wide.  There is little training anywhere around orderly transition.  That is why the solutions on this site are organized around a transition framework (go to Solutions, The Nature of Transition).

Changing the food system will take years and hundreds of interventions by all actors.  But you want to know the top ten things that need changing ...... At the risk of oversimplification, these are the efficiency and substitution stage changes that I think could shake the tree without making decision makers panic ....  Redesign will take a bit more time (and more anxiety).


Adopting a new Pest Control Products Act


Transition advisory services for environmental protocol adoption

Processing and Retail

Reducing corporate concentration: strengthening the Competition Act, Part I and Part II


Regulatory changes to labels, packaging, sizes and portions, sales, marketing and returns (scroll down)


Create a national school food program

Health care

Modify clinical care practice guidelines and payment incentives

Food and Income

Implement a Guaranteed Annual Income

Work and labour force development

Establish a national system of food system sectoral councils

Demand supply coordination

Design and promote the sustainable diet


Use existing trade rules to ramp up targeted support payments and government procurement of local sustainable food

All these strategies require sophisticated policy advocacy to bring them to reality.