ARCHIVED - The Revision Process

The process to revise the Food Guide was evidence-based, linked to public health priorities and conducted in an open and transparent manner.

The decision to revise the Food Guide was made based on the findings of a thorough review of the 1992 Food Guide. As well as identifying many strengths, the review identified some challenges that Canadians were facing in understanding or using the information from the 1992 Food Guide. The review included an assessment of the 1992 Food Guide relative to updated standards for nutritional adequacy (Dietary Reference Intakes) an assessment of changes in the food supply and in patterns of food use from 1992 to 2002 and assessments of the use and understanding of the 1992 Food Guide by intermediaries (health professionals and educators) and by consumers. A stakeholder consultation was also conducted. Summary reports of these assessments are available.

In revising the Food Guide, Health Canada worked closely with three advisory groups an external Food Guide Advisory Committee, an Interdepartmental Working Group and the Expert Advisory Committee on Dietary Reference Intakes.

Throughout the revision, Health Canada consulted with Canadians from coast to coast including non-government organizations, academics, health professionals, government, industry and consumers.

A Food Guide tailored to Canada's Aboriginal people has also been developed and was released in April 2007. This resource recognizes the cultural, spiritual and physical importance of traditional Aboriginal foods as well as the role of non-traditional foods in contemporary diets.

Timeline for the Food Guide Revision

Steps Date
Assessment of the 1992 Food Guide:
  • Guidance relative to updated nutrient standards
  • Changes in the food supply and in patterns of food use
  • Use and understanding of the Food Guide by intermediaries
Mid 2002 to
January 2004
Consultation with stakeholders on the 1992 Food Guide Summer 2003
Meeting with stakeholders to share the findings of the assessment of the 1992 Food Guide and discuss next steps January 2004
Announcement by the Minister of Health of the decision to revise the Food Guide March 2004
Background work to develop the evidence base:
  • Definition of the scope of issues to address in the revision
  • Development of the methodology and evidence gathering to develop the eating pattern
Spring 2004 to
Spring 2005
Consultation with stakeholders
Regional meetings to inform stakeholders on Health Canada's proposed approach to update national dietary guidance and the package of resources proposed for the revised Food Guide
Spring 2005
Development of preliminary concepts for the revised Food Guide Summer to
Fall 2005
Input of Multicultural Intermediaries into the Revision of Canada's Food Guide
Consultation with stakeholders:
  • Stakeholders provided input on the draft revised Food Guide through an online questionnaire
  • Stakeholders provided input at meetings held in regions across Canada
Fall 2005 to Spring 2006
Testing with end users:
  • Two rounds of focus testing of concepts and mock-ups for the consumer resource
  • User-testing of the resource for educators and communicators and of the Web-based resources
Winter 2006 to Fall 2006
Production of consumer resource and supporting materials: Fall 2006 to Winter 2007
Release of the revised Food Guide:
  • Consumer resource
  • Resource for educators and communicators
  • Interactive Website
News Release
Early 2007

Consultations on the Food Guide

An important part of the process to update dietary guidance in Canada involved ongoing consultation with stakeholders. Consultation has been undertaken at every stage beginning with the assessment of the 1992 Food Guide.

In addition to specific consultations, stakeholders were encouraged to contact Health Canada with their comments throughout the revision process.

Summer 2003
An online survey was undertaken to receive input on the 1992 Food Guide from a number of perspectives.

January 2004

Spring 2005
Meetings were held across Canada to update stakeholders on the proposed directions for national dietary guidance and to seek feedback on the approach and the types of resources and tools that would be useful in delivering healthy eating messages to Canadians.

Fall 2005 to Spring 2006
A national consultation was launched at a meeting in Ottawa in November 2005 to present and seek feedback on draft design elements and proposed content for the revised Food Guide. This consultation had two components:

  • An online questionnaire conducted on behalf of Health Canada by EKOS Research from February 15, 2006 to March 24, 2006
  • Regional meetings held in the first two weeks of April 2006 in St. John's, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Vancouver.

An executive summary of the online consultation and a report on the regional meetings are available.

Food Guide Advisory Committee

The Food Guide Advisory Committee was an integral part of the revision of Canada's Food Guide. Twelve individuals were chosen for the varied perspectives they would bring from public health, health policy, nutrition education, disease prevention, industry and communication. Collectively, they represented national, provincial and local perspectives. The Food Guide revision benefited from their skills and knowledge. Details about the committee mandate are available in the Food Guide Advisory Committee Terms of Reference. A list of committee members is also available.

Food Guide Interdepartmental Working Group

The Interdepartmental Working Group was made up of thirteen representatives from across a number of federal departments for which changes to the Food Guide would have an impact. These individuals worked with the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion to contribute a broader perspective to the revision of Canada's Food Guide. The group's membership and mandate is outlined in the Terms of Reference.

Expert Advisory Committee on Dietary Reference Intakes

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are nutrient values that guide decision-making on nutrition policies and programs. Eleven people were appointed to advise Health Canada on how best to apply DRIs to promote the nutritional health of Canadians. Committee members provided scientific advice to the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion throughout the development of the food intake pattern.

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