Health Canada's healthy eating strategy

Learn how we're working to help Canadians make informed eating choices as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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Our healthy eating strategy

We're working to improve the food environment in Canada through a new approach to healthy eating. This approach aims to help make the healthier choice the easier choice for Canadians.

This strategy includes initiatives on:

  • improving healthy eating
  • protecting vulnerable populations
  • strengthening labelling and claims
  • improving nutrition quality standards
  • supporting increased access to and availability of nutritious foods

Improving healthy eating

Health Canada is revising Canada's food guide over the next 2 years. We will be consulting with stakeholders and the general public to help ensure that new guidance and supporting resources are relevant and useful.

Infographic: Let's eat healthy Canada!

Protecting vulnerable populations

We're working to improve the food environment in Canada through a new approach to healthy eating. This approach aims to help make the healthier choice the easier choice for Canadians.

This strategy includes initiatives on:

  • improving healthy eating
  • protecting vulnerable populations
  • strengthening labelling and claims
  • improving nutrition quality standards
  • supporting increased access to and availability of nutritious foods

Food commercials and advertisements often focus on promoting foods that are high in sugars, salt and fat, such as snack foods. Children are particularly influenced by marketing messages. To protect them, we're working towards restricting the commercial marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages.

Infographic: Let's stop marketing unhealthy food and beverages to kids

Strengthening labelling and claims

Nutrition information on food labels that is easy to understand and use helps Canadians make healthier food choices.

Information on food labels is being updated so it's easier to compare similar products. We work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure that food labels are truthful and accurate. By the end of 2016, updated regulations concerning food labels will be published on the:

  • list of ingredients
  • nutrition facts table

To help you make healthier food choices, we will also be consulting Canadians on new front-of-package nutrition information. Your input will help us determine how best to help you make an informed decision, particularly on:

  • sugars
  • sodium
  • saturated fat

Improving nutrition quality standards

Many processed foods are high in sodium, and too much sodium increases the risk of chronic (long-term) diseases. We're continuing to work with food processors and manufacturers to reduce sodium in packaged foods.

We're also working with restaurants and food services to develop goals for reducing sodium in their food.

Some Canadians are still eating too much trans fats. We're proposing to eliminate the use of industrially produced trans fat in foods. We will be consulting to see what Canadians think of our proposal.

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 Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. This helps make perishable nutritious foods more accessible and affordable to residents of isolated northern communities.

Health 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

Effective October 1, 2016, the Nutrition North Canada program has been expanded to an additional 37 isolated northern communities. This change will help more families living in isolated northern communities to access affordable and healthy foods.

To keep improving the program and ensure it's sustainable, we're engaging:

  • Northerners
  • Indigenous partners
  • retailers and suppliers
  • provincial and territorial governments
  • other stakeholders

Working together

All levels and areas of society need to work together to improve healthy eating in Canada. This will require the help of all Canadians.

A new approach to communication with stakeholders

The Government of Canada is committed to openness and transparency. Health Canada will support this commitment by making more information available to Canadians and provide more opportunities to participate in discussions on government policies and priorities. Formal written submissions in response to consultations will be summarized in reports (e.g., Summary of Comments, What was Heard Report) that will be made publicly available. However, ‎the individual submissions may be released upon request under the Access to Information Act.

All other correspondence and all meetings with stakeholders will be published monthly online in list format including the organization name, date, subjects and purpose of the meeting. This includes correspondence and meetings in which opinions and information (including requests for information) are relayed with the intent to inform the development of policies, guidance or regulations related to healthy eating initiatives. ‎The title of any documents provided during meetings will also be published.

If you're interested in knowing more about our healthy eating strategy, contact us at healthyeating-sainealimentation@hc-sc.gc.ca.

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