Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Inspired by the right to the city, this paper outlines the legal architecture of food sovereignty activities in urban Canada. The architecture is rooted in three fields of law: constitutional law, municipal and planning law, and health law, and explored through various case studies in urban centers. The paper reviews legal instruments in each field and analyzes how they shape different food sovereignty activities in supportive and restrictive ways. Constitutional law generally proves restrictive in its limited recognition of local government as true government, restricted provincial power in agricultural regulation, and its general treatment of food as a commodity. Municipal and planning laws are largely supportive in enabling local governments to act in the public interest through zoning and planning measures, creative actions, and governance structures. Health law proves a mixed regulatory field, restrictive of food sovereignty activities when food safety is prioritized, but supportive when enabling creative governance activities. This paper offers one perspective on how law shapes food sovereignty activities in urban Canada under a theory of the right to the city.