Provincial Elections: What’s Next for the Local Food Act?

The fall of Ontario’s provincial government and the announcement of an election on June 12, 2014, raise some important questions regarding food and farming. What food and farming issues will be in the party platforms? Will candidates in regions and ridings across the province make healthy food and farming a priority in their campaigning? What will happen to the unproclaimed portions of the Local Food Act?

While we can’t answer any of these questions right now, we do know a bit about what could happen with the Local Food Act. When the Act passed last November it was given Royal Assent, but that didn’t make the entire act legally binding. Rather, each section needs to be “proclaimed” before it is legally binding.  Proclamation is done by the Lieutenant Governor and can happen under the government which enacted the act or under a subsequent government. What that means is that it is still possible that the unproclaimed portions of the act could be proclaimed. Given that the Act received the support of all parties, this remains a real possibility, regardless of the outcome of this election.

For more about the ins and outs of acts coming into force, check out this article.

The sections of the Act which have been proclaimed are:

  • the creation of Local Food Week during the first week of June
  • the requirement of an annual local food report, which will be released during Local Food Week
  • the setting of goals and targets for food literacy

The sections that have not yet been proclaimed are:

  • the creation of a tax credit for farmers who donate to community food programs and food banks,
  • setting goals or targets to aspire to with respect to

– public procurement of local food
– increasing access to local food

Additionally, along with the Act the government launched a Local Food Fund. While there may not be any further announcements of funds during the election period, this fund will likely continue as planned.

Keep in touch with Sustain Ontario to learn more about food and farming in this provincial election and to find out how you can get involved.

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