Government of Canada invests in food research to support disease prevention

News release

October 6, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $106,000 to the Prairie Oat Growers Association for new research trials to better understand the role oats play in disease prevention. Findings from this project will help create new market opportunities for Canadian oat producers.

With funding under the AgriScience Program, the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba is working with the association to conduct animal feeding trials with oats. The goal is to determine exactly how oat protein is digested and what effect it has on reducing cholesterol and blood glucose levels. The data, which is expected to be published and peer-reviewed by early 2023, is part of a verification process needed to make a health claim that oat protein can positively affect cholesterol and blood glucose.

Oats are already recognized as a healthy food because of their soluble fibre content. Consumer interest in the health benefits of the grain have helped Canadian oat producers transform their sector from a bulk exporter 30 years ago to one that today is largely selling value-added products and ingredients. A new health claim about oat protein could help the industry further diversify market opportunities, stimulate increased demand and economic benefits for Canadian oat growers, while contributing to healthier diets for consumers.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting research that explores the full nutritional and health benefits of Canadian agricultural products, recognizing the positive impact it has on consumers and the Canadian economy. 


“We’ve always known that Canadian crops are nutritious and through research, we are able to determine the long-term health benefits of our harvests, including their disease-fighting properties. This project is not only an investment in the health of Canadians, it opens doors to new market opportunities for our farmers and food processors.”

-   The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food 

"The prairies are known for producing high-quality crops that support the agriculture sector and the Canadian economy. Today’s announcement will help researchers better understand the variety of uses of oats, that will not only benefit Canadians' health, but also boost international trade.”

-   The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Prairies Economic Development Canada

“This type of funding is essential for commodities like oats to be able to have the necessary research to apply for potential new health claims. Health claims let consumers have a better understanding of how eating certain foods can help improve their health and, if the results are positive, give consumers yet another reason to eat the safe and healthy oats produced right here in Canada. The Prairie Oat Growers Association is grateful for all the research and marketing support provided and looks forward to continuing vital research like this for years to come.” 

-   Shawna Mathieson, Executive Director, Prairie Oat Growers Association 

Quick facts

  • The Prairie Oat Growers Association is a non-profit organization that promotes the interests of oat growers and oat marketing in western Canada.

  • Canada is the largest exporter of oats in the world, with export sales valued at $465 million in 2020. The three prairie provinces account for more than 90% of Canada’s oat production.

  • The goal of the AgriScience Program is to accelerate the pace of innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefit the agriculture and agri-food sector, and Canadians.

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For media:
Marianne Dandurand
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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