In March of this year Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne re-introduced theLocal Food Act, in which local is defined as the province of Ontario. This soon ran afoul of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the little known federal definition of local. A couple of small business owners in Ontario could have warned her of that. These same businesses were under threat of fines from the Canadian Food Inspection agency for labeling as “local” food sourced from more than 50km away – this contravened the definition of local, enshrined in federal regulations since 1974.
Fast forward to May 10th and the CFIA announced that it will be modernizing its food labeling approach, including the definition of local, “with input from consumers, industry and other stakeholders”. While most would agree that 50km is overly restrictive, there are serious challenges to codifying a term such as “local” for a country as large as Canada.