Food is a Human Right: National Food Policy Needed

May 16, 2012, 3:10 PM EST


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As the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food winds up his mission to Canada, Food Secure Canada is calling for a national food policy, based on the recommendations in Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada. 

"The Special Rapporteur has traveled in Canada for the past 10 days, hearing staggering statistics and stories about food insecurity, health issues and the outrageous costs of food in remote and Northern regions. He has reminded us that food is a basic human right, and Canada is failing in its obligations to fulfill this right," said Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada, in a May 16 press release.

"In order to change this, we need to move towards developing a comprehensive national food policy. As underlined by the Rapporteur, any national food policy must be participatory and include dedicated seats at the table for civil society, Aboriginal peoples and those who are directly affected by food insecurity. The ground-breaking process behind the People's Food Policy can be used as a model."

Based on the input of over 3,500 Canadians, the People's Food Policy calls for:

1. A federal poverty prevention and elimination program, with measurable targets and timelines. At a minimum, all government income supports and minimum wage must be set at rates that guarantee being able to fulfill basic rights, including food and shelter.
2. A national children and food strategy, including federal support for student nutrition programs. Every time a child goes to school hungry because they cannot access food, it is a denial of their human rights.
3. Taking immediate steps towards support for ecological and local food production and consumption, including movement on institutional procurement.
4. Public promotion of healthy food choices - which can save billions of dollars in health care.
5. Immediately addressing the ongoing food insecurity and water crises in Native and Northern communities, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples and other Northern communities.

FSC helped organize meetings between the Special Rapporteur and civil society groups in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg. The CAW is a member organization of FSC. For more information please visit www.foodsecurecanada.org.

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