Health Canada's healthy eating strategy
Learn how we're working to make the healthier choice the easier choice for Canadians.
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Our healthy eating strategy
We're taking a new approach to healthy eating. Our strategy aims to improve the food environment in Canada to make it easier for Canadians to make the healthier choice. We're:
- improving healthy eating information
- improving nutrition quality of foods
- protecting vulnerable populations
- supporting increased access to and availability of nutritious foods
Improving healthy eating information
Canada’s new food guide, released in January 2019, is a mobile-friendly web application that provides Canadians with easier access to dietary guidance.
New resources and tools will be developed on an ongoing basis to help Canadians 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:
These changes will make it easier to compare similar products to make healthier choices.
To help you make healthier 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 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:
On December 13th, 2019, the Honourable Ms. Hajdu, Minister of Health, received her mandate letter. The promotion of healthy eating, including establishing new front-of-package labelling and continuing work to introduce new restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverages to children, was identified as a priority.
Improving nutrition quality of foods
Some Canadians are still eating too much trans fats. Eating foods that contain trans fats increases the risk of heart disease, 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 illegal 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 Canadians 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's eating habits and taste preferences are influenced by advertising. To protect children, we're working to restrict advertising to children under 13 years of age of foods that meet criteria for:
- saturated fat
Supporting increased access to and availability of nutritious foods
The Nutrition North Canada program is one way in which Canada supports increased access and availability to nutritious foods. The program provides a retail subsidy through Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. This helps make perishable nutritious foods more accessible and affordable to residents of isolated northern communities.
Indigenous Services Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada also provide funding to eligible communities to deliver nutrition education activities to:
- increase healthy eating knowledge
- develop skills in selecting and preparing nutritious foods
The Government of Canada is committed to improvements to the Nutrition North Canada program.
Effective October 1, 2016, the Nutrition North Canada program was expanded to an additional 37 isolated northern communities. This change helps more families living in isolated northern communities to access affordable and healthy foods.
Following extensive engagement with Northern and Indigenous partners, community members and key stakeholders, the Government of Canada announced in fall 2018 significant improvements and additional investments to the Nutrition North Canada program.
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 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]
- Toward Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels for Canadians [2016-11-14]
- Consultation on banning partially hydrogenated oils in foods [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]
- 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
- Nutrition North Canada
- 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
Eat a variety of healthy foods each day
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