A group of Canadian citizens recently formed Vegan Option Canada (VOC), a lobby group with the mission of amending laws to mandate federal public institutions, such as hospitals, schools, and senior centers, to provide vegan meal options. A paper petition sponsored by Member of Parliament Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet is currently being circulated at vegan-friendly restaurants and events across Canada with a goal to obtain 85,000 signatures before January 2019, when it will be presented to the Government of Canada. A separate supporting electronic petition currently has more than 18,000 signatures. “Our mission is to bring awareness to the fact that access to plant-based meals is a human right,” VOC public relations representative Sorin Ionescu told VegNews. “When we are in a public institution—particularly when it is mandatory and not a matter of choice—our personal dietary choices need to be respected, especially when they are based on an ethical choice to reduce suffering.” The creation of VOC was inspired by the Portuguese Vegetarian Association, whose efforts led to the passing of similar legislation in Portugal in 2017. While the federal petition is VOC’s first project, the group plans to start provincial and municipal petitions to lobby for vegan options at public institutions that fall under those jurisdictions.

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