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
Health Canada is revising Canada's food guide. We have been consulting 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 two separate consultations on front-of-package nutrition labelling:
Your input will help us find the best way to help you make informed decisions on:
- saturated fat
Improving nutrition quality of foods
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. The Sodium Intake of Canadians in 2017 report shows that the majority of Canadians are still consuming too much sodium. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods. Health Canada evaluated the food industry's efforts to meet voluntary sodium reduction targets that were established in 2012. We will continue to work with food producers to reduce sodium in packaged foods. We're also working with restaurants and food services to develop goals for reducing sodium in their foods.
We're also working with restaurants and food services to develop goals for reducing sodium in their foods.
Protecting vulnerable populations
Most foods advertised to children are high in:
Children's eating habits are influenced by marketing. To protect children, we're working to restrict marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages.
An update on Health Canada's proposed direction for the development of regulations to restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children was published in April 2018. This update reflects policy development since receiving feedback from the 75-day public consultation launched on June 10, 2017. Pending Royal Assent of Bill S-228, the Child Health Protection Act, Health Canada will publish proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette for consultation.
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. 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.
The Government held engagement sessions between May and December 2016 with Northerners, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders to seek their input on how the program could be more transparent, cost-effective and culturally appropriate.
Following the public engagement process, the Government of Canada continues to move forward to identify ways to improve the program to work better for Northerners while remaining within budget.
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 published monthly online.
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 will not be meeting with representatives from the food and beverage 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]
- 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]
- Healthy eating strategy: Questions and answers
- 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
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