The right to food in Canada

March 19, 2013

On March 4th, 2013, UN Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter presented his Report on the Right to Food in Canada, a follow-up to last May’s visit, in a live webcast hosted by Food Share Canada.  Canadian Feed The Children’s Program Officer, Mueni Udeozor, and Regional Program Manager – Americas, Genevieve Drouin, joined 50 communities across Canada to hear highlights of the report and have their questions answered by De Schutter himself, speaking from Geneva.

Mueni and Genevieve came away with renewed conviction that non-profits working in the area of hunger alleviation and food security in Canada (including CFTC) and the Canadians who support them are on the right path when calling for public attention and action on food security inequities across the country.

“One of the points that resonated with me was De Schutter’s remark on the critical nature of national school feeding programs. Not only do they provide adequate diets to children and teach them good nutrition–knowledge that they can bring home–they are also a great way to rebuild local health food systems,” said Mueni Genevieve concurred, and added, “I have seen first-hand the impact good nutrition can have on a student’s academic performance and physical well-being.  The work that CFTC donors fund in communities across Canada continues to provide direct access to healthy food, and also educate children, their parents, and school staff on proper nutrition. Our goal is to work collaboratively with local partners to support community-led programs that promote behaviour change leading to more positive health outcomes in these vulnerable communities.”

De Schutter’s report focuses on food availability, food accessibility and food adequacy in Canada. He suggests that Canada needs an integrated national food policy to address issues of access to food at municipal, provincial, territorial and federal levels, and that lack of coordination between these levels is preventing movement forward.