In the urban context, cooperation between disparate groups is necessary to accomplish many political and social objectives. Clarence Stone’s urban regime theory describes how governmental and non-governmental actors collaborate in the pursuit of a common goal in American municipalities. Civic capacity, a more recent application of this theory, describes socially progressive forms of collaboration. The purpose of this investigation is to further the development of urban regime theory by identifying and exploring factors that strengthen civic capacity within Canadian cities. The concept of civic capacity is applied to food policy in two Canadian municipalities, Toronto and Vancouver. The Toronto Food Policy Council (FPC) demonstrates well-developed civic capacity, whereas the Vancouver FPC is an example of emergent civic capacity. This is evident from a comparison of the factors that contribute to civic capacity in the Canadian context, namely credibility, agenda setting, support from municipal governments, and the cultivation of collaborative networks.

Kassandra Loewen is a fourth-year student double majoring in political science and biology. She is particularly interested in public policy, and her areas of research include First Nations health, food systems and the environment. Kassandra has accepted a research contract in Sioux Lookout examining acute rheumatic fever, hepatitis C, and opioid dependence treatment in northern communities.