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Fact Sheet

Innovation Strategy Projects: Achieving Healthier Weights in Canada’s Communities

News Release: Harper Government Announces Funding for Innovative Projects to Help Families Achieve Healthier Weights

The Government of Canada, along with provinces, territories and community groups, is working to find more innovative ways to achieve healthier weights among Canadians.

Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy, the Government of Canada funds projects to take action to reduce barriers to healthy weights by addressing underlying environmental, social, demographic and economic issues. The Innovation Strategy specifically places a focus on rural, remote, northern and underserved communities across Canada, and on children and youth, particularly those with low socio-economic status.

Innovation Strategy projects are funded in two phases. Phase I included development and early implementation of 37 projects, totaling over $7 million. Phase II builds upon the work of specific Phase I projects by providing funding for the full implementation and evaluation of them, as well as the sharing of knowledge and what is learned.

Innovative approaches to achieving healthier weights will be used in areas such as community engagement, health literacy and food security. These projects will include a focus on Aboriginal peoples, minority and vulnerable youth, young children, parents and families. The information gained will add to a broader understanding of how to achieve healthier weights and will be shared with communities and partners across Canada.

Achieving Healthier Weights

The following nine Phase II projects being announced total close to $13 million:

For more information, contact the Public Health Agency of Canada, Centre for Health Promotion, Innovation Strategy: IS.Information@phac-aspc.gc.ca.


The Public Health Agency of Canada is funding these initiatives under its Innovation Strategy program. The Innovation Strategy (IS) links evidence and action to address the underlying causes of complex population health issues in diverse communities across Canada by supporting and rigorously evaluating innovative and evidence-based population health interventions.


Atlantic Region

Engaging Communities: Achieving Healthier Weights through Community Food Security in Remote Inuit Populations ($1,592,576).

Led by the Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc. in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, this project aims to:

  • Increase access to and consumption of healthier foods in Hopedale;
  • Improve food security – the promotion of access and availability of healthier foods - and obesity conditions in Nunatsiavut;
  • Increase national awareness and promotion of the Community Led Food Assessment Model to develop community-led food security initiatives;
  • Increase understanding of northern Inuit food related issues with key stakeholders; and,
  • Increase knowledge of successful Inuit food security interventions across Canada.

Project partners: Engaging Communities: Achieving Healthier Weights through Community Food Security in Remote Inuit Populations

Our Food: Achieving Healthier Weights by Reconnecting Food and Community ($1,479,151).

Led by Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this this project aims to:

  • Increase fruit and vegetable consumption, food access, physical activity, knowledge of food security issues and overall health;
  • Improve community member’s health by increasing knowledge and skills to support healthy eating, and food preparation and preservation;
  • Establish local infrastructure and resources to enhance access to nutritious food (e.g. developing food preparation, preservation and gardening skills and building community gardens);
  • Participate in the development of health promotion policies towards the sustainability of healthier weights; and,
  • Build a network for sustaining efforts to promote the access and availability of healthier foods.

Project partners: Our Food: Achieving Healthier Weights by Reconnecting Food and Community

Quebec Region

Toward a Network of green, active, healthy neighbourhoods / Vers un réseau de Quartiers verts, actifs et en santé ($1,593,857)

Led by the Société de développement communautaire de Montréal in Montréal, Quebec, this project aims to:

  • Equip and mobilize children and youth in 12 disadvantaged communities in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta to participate in active transportation (such as walking and biking);
  • Design an active transportation plan with input from community stakeholders;
  • Organize a community of practice, as a forum for key stakeholders, to share knowledge and tools that are being used across Canada; and,
  • Encourage communities to adopt policies to support active transportation.

Project partners: Toward a Network of green, active, healthy neighbourhoods / Vers un réseau de Quartiers verts, actifs et en santé

Ontario Region

Launching Community Food Centres in Canada: Building Health and Equity through Food Programs in Low-Income Communities ($1,503,000)

Led by Community Food Centres Canada in Toronto, Ontario, this project aims to:

  • Identify and engage 15 low income communities, selected on the basis of local needs and demographics; and,
  • Develop comprehensive, locally-driven program plans in each community that will support healthy food access (e.g. drop-in meals), food skills (e.g. community gardens and cooking groups), and education and engagement (e.g. peer-support programs).

Project partners: Launching Community Food Centres in Canada: Building Health and Equity through Food Programs in Low-Income Communities

Western Region

Health Promoting Schools Program ($1,416,500)

Led by the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, this project aims to:

  • Increase coordination of policies and services across the school and community for physical activity, healthy eating and positive mental health among children and their families;
  • Support healthy eating, physical activity and mental health in urban and rural complex needs schools;
  • Support welcoming, caring, inclusive and improved relationships among students and their families through creating groups such as a Student Leadership Group and an Adult Ally Group;
  • Increase understanding by children and their families of the importance of physical activity, healthy eating, mental health, while increasing opportunities for healthy choices and actions; and,
  • Improve the health and well-being and overall learning outcomes by enhancing education resources and curriculum for classrooms.

Project partners: Health Promoting Schools Program

Healthy Start/Départ santé: A multi-level intervention to increase physical activity and healthy eating among young children (ages 3-5) attending early learning programs ($1,594,000)

Led by Réseau Santé en Français de la Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, this project aims to:

  • Provide outreach to early learning centers and pre-kindergarten programs in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, focusing on children from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds;
  • Impact physical activity and healthier eating habits in early learning centres and at home;
  • Increase key stakeholders’ involvement in the project;
  • Identify how the Saskatchewan provincial strategy will impact French and English childcare centres located within urban and rural settings in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick; and,
  • Identify necessary actions to enable the successful implementation of the Saskatchewan provincial strategy.

Project partners: Healthy Start/Départ santé: A multi-level intervention to increase physical activity and healthy eating among young children (age 3-5) attending early learning programs

Our Food Our Health Our Culture: Achieving Healthier Weights in Manitoba and Saskatchewan ($1,544,226)

Led by Food Matters Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this project aims to:

  • Enable communities to achieve conditions for healthier weights by providing people with skills to harvest and eat traditional Aboriginal foods;
  • Improve access to healthier food for low-income populations through retail initiatives in urban, rural, remote and on-reserve higher risk communities; and,
  • Develop and implement food policies with community agencies that are providing food for vulnerable populations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, such as Aboriginal and recent immigrant children, youth and their families, adults and seniors.

Project partners: Our Food Our Health Our Culture: Achieving Healthier Weights in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

British Columbia Region

Healthy Weights for Children ($1,580,000)

Led by The Bridge Youth and Family Services Society in Kelowna, British Columbia, this project aims to:

  • Implement and evaluate innovative family education modules engaging disadvantaged and underserved children and youth under 19, their parents, foster-parents and/or caregivers and their communities; and,
  • Evaluate the impact of this model for children in care and their families.

Project partners: Healthy Weights for Children

Northern Region

Atii! Let's Do It! A comprehensive healthy-living intervention for children, youth and families in Inuit Communities in Nunavut ($490,684)

Led by the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut, this project aims to:

  • Increase the ability of Inuit families to make healthy choices about food and physical activity;
  • Improve health literacy in the Inuktitut language;
  • Engage children, parents and guardians in a fun, culturally relevant health promotion activity in school settings;
  • Increase opportunities for children and youth to learn vital traditional harvesting skills; and,
  • Expand the capacity of youth leadership in developing and implementing the project.

Project partners: Atii! Let's Do It! A comprehensive healthy-living intervention for children, youth and families in Inuit Communities in Nunavut

Project Partners

Engaging Communities: Achieving Healthier Weights through Community Food Security in Remote Inuit Populations
Project partners include: the Nunatsiavut Government Department of Health and Social Development; the Nunatsiavut Government Department of Lands and Natural Resources; First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Atlantic Region (Prevention and Promotions Programs and Nursing Leadership); Hopedale Inuit Community Government; Nain Inuit Community Government; Postville Inuit Community Government; Makkovik Inuit Community Government; Rigolet Inuit Community Government, Hopedale Amos Comenius Memorial School; Hopedale Afterschool Program; Hopedale Community Youth Network; Trent University Department of Indigenous Studies; Trent University Department of Environmental and Resource Studies; Memorial University of Newfoundland Department of Sociology; Memorial University of Newfoundland Department of Community Health and Humanities (Aboriginal Health) Faculty of Medicine; Memorial University of Newfoundland Labrador Institute; Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami;Paukuutit Inuit Women of Canada; Nasivvik Centre for Inuit Health and Changing Environments; The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Health and Community Services; and The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Labrador Affairs Office.

Our Food: Achieving Healthier Weights by Reconnecting Food and Community
Project partners include: Bayers Westwood Family Resource Centre; St. George’s Youthnet; Spryfield Urban Farm Museum; Phoenix Youth Programs; Halifax Refugee Clinic; Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services, Halifax; Common Roots Urban Farm; ReachAbility; Maggie’s Place; Dalhousie University; ACT for Community Food Security (Food ARC); Dalhousie School of Nursing; Public Health Services in the Capital District Health Authority; Cumberland District Health Authority; Food Secure Canada; Cumberland Food Action Network (CFAN); River Hebert & Area Garden Club; Parrsboro Garden Club; Joggins Fossil Institute; Amherst Community Garden; Springhill Community Garden; Pugwash Farmers Market; Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN); Sackville Community Garden; Seeds of Diversity Canada – Atlantic; Cape Breton District Health Authority; and Sustainable Development Group of Cocagne.

Toward a Network of green, active, healthy neighbourhoods / Vers un réseau de Quartiers verts, actifs et en santé
Project partners include: Montréal Urban Ecology Centre; Toronto Centre for Active Transportation; and Sustainable Calgary Society.

Launching Community Food Centres in Canada: Building Health and Equity through Food Programs in Low-Income Communities
Project partners include: the Local Community Food Centre; The Table Community Food Centre; The Stop Community Food Centre; NorWest Co-op Community Health; Dartmouth Family Centre; CRC at 40 Oaks; Ryerson University; The University of Guelph; The Sprott Foundation; The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation; Green Shield Canada Foundation; BMO Financial Group; The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation; The Young Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation; Ontario Trillium Foundation; Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion: Healthy Communities Fund; Atkinson Foundation; Joannah and Brian Lawson; Scott and Leigh Lamacraft; Jon and Nancy Love; Ultima Foods; Le Creuset Canada; Bernardin Ltd.; and up to 15 new Community Food Centres during the life of this project.

Health Promoting Schools Program
Partners include: Saskatoon Public School Division; Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division; Horizon School Division; Prairie Spirit School Division; Island Health; Le Réseau Santé en français de la Saskatchewan; School District 72; School District CSF 93; School District 61; Ditidaht Education Authority SD70; and Haahuupayak Community School; Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Health; Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Education; and participating schools, staff, school community councils, students and their families.

Healthy Start/Départ santé: A multi-level intervention to increase physical activity and healthy eating among young children (age 3-5) attending early learning programs
Project partners include: the University of Saskatchewan College of Kinesiology; the University of Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy and Nutrition; the University of Saskatchewan Department of Community Health and Epidemiology; Association des parents fransaskois (Fransaskois Parent Association); Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association; Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit; KidSKan; Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick; Université de Moncton - Université de Sherbrooke; In motion/en mouvement National Network Researchers- Canada Communities in motion/en movement (CCIM); Saskatoon Public School Division school board; Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division school board; le Conseil des écoles fransaskoises school board; Northeast Saskatchewan School Division (Melfort-Nipawin) school board; Five Hills Health Region (Moose Jaw); SunCountry Health Region (Estevan and Weyburn); Cypress Health Region (Swift Current ); Saskatchewan Ministry of Education Early Years Branch; Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Health Promotion Branch (Healthy Weights Task Force); MEND SK; Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST);- those who train early childhood educators, College of Education at University of Saskatchewan; The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan; New Brunswick Governmental Department of Education and Early Childhood Development; New Brunswick Governmental Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities; New Brunswick Governmental Department of Health; The New Brunswick Health Council; and, Early Childhood Care and Education New Brunswick.

Our Food Our Health Our Culture: Achieving Healthier Weights in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Project partners include: North End Food Security Network; Manitoba Alternative Food Research Alliance; Health in Common; Food Secure Saskatchewan; REACH; Churchill Community High School; University of Manitoba; North End Community Renewal Corporation; Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba; the Province of Manitoba; Winnipeg Food Share Co-op; Frontier School Division; Winnipeg Regional Health Authority; Fox Lake Cree Nation; Lac La Ronge Indian Band; Northern Saskatchewan Population Health Unit; Gordon Denny Community School; Pre-Cam Community School; Gillam School; Mamawetan Churchill River Health Region; Lac La Ronge Food Bank; Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre; Neechi Foods Co-op; Food for Folks; Kikinakh Friendship Centre; Youth Addiction Services (La Ronge); Lac La Ronge Indian Band Health Services; and Senator Myles Venne School.

Healthy Weights for Children
Project partners include: the BC Association of Family Resource Programs; Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs; Catholic Family Services of Saskatoon, SK; Centre for Northern Families, NT; Child Welfare League of Canada; Children’s Foundation, BC; Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society, BC; Immigrant Services, Calgary, AB; Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, BC; Kootenay Family Place, BC; Ministry of Children and Family Development, BC; Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton Area, NB; Okanagan Foster Parents Association, BC; Saint Elizabeth First Nation Inuit and Metis Program, AB; Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group, ON; The Children’s Aid Society of Brant, ON; The First Nations Information Governance Centre, ON; University of British Columbia Okanagan; Vista Family Resource Centre, NL; and Wolseley Family Place, MB.

Atii! Let's Do It! A comprehensive healthy-living intervention for children, youth and families in Inuit Communities in Nunavut
Project partners include: the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.; Qikiqtani Inuit Association; the University of Toronto; Apex District Education Authority (DEA); the Nunavut Department of Education; Gjoa Haven District Education Authority (DEA); Cambridge Bay District Education Authority (DEA); Arviat District Education Authority (DEA); Kitikmeot School Operations; and various schools and teachers.