Infant Feeding Joint Working Group: Terms of reference

On this page


The Infant Feeding Joint Working Group is responsible for developing revised, evidence-informed, infant feeding recommendations.

This terms of reference was endorsed on Thursday, July 6th, 2023.

1.0 Mandate

The Infant Feeding Joint Working Group, hereafter referred to as the joint working group, will revise infant feeding recommendations by:

The Minister of Health retains final decision-making authority and accountability for the recommendations.

2.0 Responsibility centre

The Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, is responsible for the joint working group.

3.0 Coordination and secretariat

The Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion will coordinate the joint working group, providing secretariat and administrative support.

4.0 Membership

Membership on the Joint Working Group will include representatives from:

Each organization will appoint members to the joint working group. The joint working group will have up to 12 members. The joint working group may agree to invite ad hoc members to attend particular meetings or join the joint working group. Ad hoc members follow the same rules and procedures as core members and review and provide advice on a particular topic or agenda item.

5.0 Tenure

Each organization will appoint joint working group members for the duration of the recommendation revision process (approximately 4 years).

6.0 Retiring from the joint working group

A member may retire from the joint working group by writing to the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, including the effective date of the retirement and a suggested replacement.

7.0 Affiliations and interests

External representatives, appointed by their organization, shouldn't have any potential conflict of interest. Members should update the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion of any changes to their affiliations and interests promptly and on an ongoing basis.

8.0 Roles and responsibilities


The primary responsibilities of members of the joint working group are to develop revised, evidence-informed, infant feeding recommendations by:

Commitment to confidentiality

To support their ability to provide well-informed advice, joint working group members must commit to confidentiality and ensure they won't disclose any sensitive or confidential information received as part of their involvement in the joint working group. Before participating in the joint working group, external members must sign a confidentiality agreement that applies to information received in writing or verbally, including:

The secretariat will ensure that everyone participating in the meeting, telephone discussion, email exchange or in another form of communication has received clear instructions on the confidentiality of the proceedings.

9.0 Media

Joint working group members are requested to direct all media inquiries about the joint working group and their work to the secretariat, who in turn will contact Health Canada's Media Relations team.

The secretariat must review and approve social media content that is developed by a joint working group member and which describes work conducted by the group before being disseminated.

10.0 Transparency

Transparency of the joint working group is served by posting the terms of reference and the membership list on Health Canada's website after they have been approved by the members of the joint working group.

Health Canada is subject to the Access to Information Act, which provides Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada the right to access information contained in federal government records, subject to certain specific and limited exceptions. The act serves to enhance the accountability and transparency of federal institutions in order to:

Information pertaining to the work of the joint working group provided to Health Canada, including input from its members in any form (emails, meeting records, etc.), may be assessed for public release in the event that Health Canada receives a request for access to this information. Members may consult with the secretariat for additional information on implications of the act.

11.0 Meetings

Meeting agenda

The coordinator will prepare the agenda for meetings of the joint working group with input from the joint working group.

Meeting notices and invitation

Meeting attendance is by invitation only. The Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion will send invitations to attend a meeting.

Frequency, type and location

Joint working group meetings will be held 3 to 4 times a year. Meetings will be conducted virtually.

Meeting summaries

The Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion will prepare summaries of each joint working group meeting and circulate them to members for their approval. The summaries won't contain references to comments made by individual members.

12.0 Travel and expenses

We don't anticipate any travel at this time. However, if members of the joint working group travel for authorized joint working group purposes, Health Canada will reimburse their travel and accommodation expenses according to the Travel Directive and Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures.

13.0 Public engagement

Health Canada will seek broad public input on a draft of the revised guidelines. Health Canada will:

14.0 Intellectual property

Health Canada must preserve its ability to use (for example publish, reproduce, translate) the work authored by members of the joint working group who have contributed to the development of the joint statement in their role on the group. The joint working group will be required to assign to the Government of Canada any copyrights it owns and to waive any moral rights it has in those written materials.

15.0 Publication

Health Canada will publish the revised recommendations online.

Page details

Date modified: