Health Canada's healthy eating strategy
Learn how we're working to make the healthier choice the easier choice for people living in Canada.
On this page
- Our healthy eating strategy
- Working together
- Reports and publications
- Related information
Our healthy eating strategy
We recognize that food choices are influenced by many factors. Our strategy aims to improve the food environment in Canada to make it easier for consumers to make the healthier choice. We're:
- improving healthy eating information
- improving nutrition quality of foods
- protecting vulnerable populations
Improving healthy eating information
Canada's new food guide, released in January 2019, is a mobile-friendly web application that provides consumers with easier access to dietary guidance.
New resources and tools will be developed on an ongoing basis to help people living in Canada apply Canada's new food guide where they live, learn, work and play. We continue to consult with interested parties and the public to make sure that new guidance and resources are relevant and useful.
At the end of 2016, we updated regulations about food labels and their:
The changes to the food label will make it easier to compare similar products to make healthier choices.
Health Canada requires a new mandatory front-of-package nutrition symbol on prepackaged foods high in sodium, sugars, and saturated fat. The symbol will make it quicker and easier for people living in Canada to make healthier and more informed food choices.
We conducted consultations on front-of-package nutrition labelling:
- Toward front-of-package labels for Canadians 
- Proposed front-of-package labelling 
- Summary of proposed amendments published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: nutrition symbols, other labelling provisions, partially hydrogenated oils and vitamin D 
Stakeholders' input informed adjustments to the regulations and helped us find the best way to help you make informed decisions on sodium, sugars, and saturated fat.
While the regulations came into force on the day they were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on July 20, 2022, a transition period will give manufacturers until January 1, 2026, to change their labels and comply with the new requirements.
Promoting healthy eating by advancing the healthy eating strategy is a priority listed in the 2021 Minister of Health's mandate letter. This includes finalizing front-of-package labelling to promote healthy food choices and supporting restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverages to children.
Improving nutrition quality of foods
Eating too much trans fats increases the risk of heart disease. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. On September 17, 2018, Health Canada banned the use of partially hydrogenated oils in foods, the main source of industrially produced trans fat. The ban came into effect with the addition of partially hydrogenated oils to the List of Contaminants and other Adulterating Substances in Foods. It is now prohibited for manufacturers to add partially hydrogenated oils to foods sold in Canada. This includes both Canadian and imported foods, as well as those prepared in all food service establishments.
Sodium reduction is a priority for the Government of Canada. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods. The Sodium Intake of Canadians in 2017 report shows that most people living in Canada are still consuming too much sodium. To address this, Health Canada released updated voluntary sodium reduction targets. The goal of these targets is for the food industry to further reduce the sodium levels in processed foods by 2025. Health Canada will assess the progress towards these targets and may consider other courses of action if little progress is made.
Protecting vulnerable populations
Children are particularly vulnerable to advertising. Food advertising influences children's food attitudes, preferences, purchase requests, consumption patterns and, ultimately, overall health. Children in Canada are exposed to a high amount of advertising for foods that contain sodium, sugars, and saturated fat. Diets with excess intakes of sodium, sugars or saturated fat are a key risk factor for obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
To better protect the health of this vulnerable population, we are working to introduce restrictions on the advertising of certain foods to children. Our regulatory approach will be guided by Health Canada's policy update on restricting food advertising primarily directed at children.
We are also taking action to monitor food and beverage advertising to children and teens in Canada. We monitor the media and settings where children spend the most time and are most likely to be exposed to food advertising, as well as the techniques most often used in advertising primarily directed at children. Monitoring food and beverage advertising supports evidence-based policy, and strengthens our understanding of what influences healthy eating. It also lets us evaluate trends over time and identify gaps in evidence.
We need to work together to improve healthy eating across Canada. Please sign up to our Consultation and Stakeholder Information Management System (CSIMS) to stay engaged with:
- policy documents
Formal written responses to consultations will be summed up in reports that will be publicly available. Individual responses may be released by request under the Access to Information Act.
All other healthy eating related correspondence and documents from meetings with stakeholders are available online on the Healthy Eating Strategy Openness and Transparency page.
This includes meetings and correspondence in which opinions and information (including requests for information) are relayed with the intent to inform the development of policies, guidelines and regulations.
During the policy development of the new Canada's food guide, officials from Health Canada's Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion did not meet with representatives from the food industry.
If you want to know more about our healthy eating strategy, contact us by email.
- Consultation: Restricting food advertising primarily directed at children [2023-04-25]
- Consultation on proposed front-of-package labelling [2018-02-10]
- Call for Information on Sodium Reduction Initiatives in the Canadian Foodservices Sector [2017-09-20]
- Consultation on the revision of Canada's Food Guide (Phase 2) [2017-06-10]
- Consultation on restricting unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children [2017-06-10]
- Notice of Proposal: Prohibiting the Use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) in Foods [2017-04-07]
- Consultation on banning partially hydrogenated oils in foods [2016-11-14]
- Toward Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels for Canadians [2016-11-14]
- Consultation on front-of-package nutrition labelling [2016-11-14]
Reports and publications
- Sodium Intake of Canadians in 2017 [2018-07-23]
- Sodium Reduction in Processed Foods in Canada: An Evaluation of Progress toward Voluntary Targets from 2012 to 2016 [2018-01-15]
- Consultation Report: Restricting Marketing of Unhealthy Food and Beverages to Children in Canada [2017-12-08]
- Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling: September 18 Stakeholder Engagement Meeting [2017-11-02]
- Healthy Eating Strategy [2016-10-24]
- Child Health Protection Act (Bill C-252) to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibition of food and beverage marketing directed at children)
- Voluntary sodium reduction targets for processed foods 2020-2025 [2020-12-18]
- Minister of Health Mandate Letter
- Food labelling changes
- Revision process for Canada's food guide
- Transparency of stakeholder communications for healthy eating initiatives
- Notice of Modification: Prohibiting the Use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) in Foods [2017-09-15]
- List of Contaminants and other Adulterating Substances in Foods
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