George Brown College Partnership
In November, 2014 a Gift Agreement with George Brown College Foundation was established. This Agreement enabled a partnership with the Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts at George Brown College to advance food nutrition in the Greater Toronto Area and, ultimately across Canada.
In December, 2018, a second major Gift Agreement was signed with the aims to infuse nutrition literacy within the culture and core course offerings of the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts and to enhance the focus of nutrition literacy within the School of Early Childhood Education.
The investment has resulted in nutrition advancement including:
Launch of the innovative Helderleigh Nutrition Application Fund for public benefit.
Enhanced core nutrition courses within culinary curriculum.
Nutritional analysis, healthier ingredient substitutions and alternatives for culinary and baking recipes.
Updated General Education nutrition course offered as an elective for all students.
Faculty training & professional development in nutrition studies.
GBC’s Chef’s House restaurant showcasing local, seasonal nutritious offerings.
Twenty-eight scholarship awards for full-time students in two nutrition-focused programs.
Presenting sponsor of the highly acclaimed Ambition Nutrition symposiums.
Increased applied research, capacity and scope for the Food Innovation and Research Studio.
Nutrition market research among students, technicians, faculty, and stakeholders through the HNAF.
Ontario Public Health Association Partnership
In June, 2018 The Helderleigh Foundation entered into a multi-year partnership with the Ontario Public Health Association. The shared vision is to create a generation of children who are food literate, who practice healthy and sustainable eating practices in support of its Nutrition Resource Centre.
The current situation is not good
Unhealthy diet is now the leading behavioural risk factor for death in Canada.
Modern lifestyles and food environments make healthy eating increasingly difficult.
Healthcare costs are rising and productivity is falling.
Governments are defunding important food literacy programs such as school taught home economics.
Approximately 80% of mortality can be attributed to non-communicable diseases, which are preventable through proper diet and exercise.
Children, their parents & caregivers can lead the way
Studies indicate that successful intervention with children under the age of ten years, have an 85% likelihood of maintaining healthy eating habits lasting a lifetime.
Having and demonstrating a positive relationship with food is essential.
Most effective food education is holistic, pragmatic, experimental and fun.
Involving children both in the garden and the kitchen with hands on exploration sets the foundation.
New entity to be formed to address these challenges
A new entity will be launched in Q2, 2019 with the goal to be the best known, most valued and trustworthy source for nutrition knowledge and stakeholder exchange in Ontario. The aim is to expand this to other provinces.
This entity will be a network, building on the existing six thousand Nutrition Resource Centre subscribers.
A Food Literacy Action Plan will be put in place to address nutrition literacy gaps and include a knowledge hub, where data can be turned into actionable resources.
A centralized resource will be formed to advance nutrition policies and enhance implementation.
A knowledge mobilization broker service will be offered to assist academics, scientists and organizations they represent to assist bringing their findings to market.
In June, 2019, The Helderleigh Foundation entered into a three year Agreement with Ophea. Ophea will become The Helderleigh Foundation’s Delivery Partner to directly and consistently reach Ontario schools, educators and students with healthy eating lesson plans and messages; and to expand Ophea’s successful Healthy Schools Certification program.
We are pleased to implement The Helderleigh Foundation’s critical food literacy messages across Ontario, impacting up to 1.5 million elementary students, in 3,954 elementary schools schools and their connected communities.
Foundational to our work are two evidence-informed statements:
When curriculum supports are effectively implemented, children and youth gain the knowledge and skill they need to lead healthy, active lives; and
Children and youth are more likely to experience the lifelong benefits of healthy, active living if they are a part of a healthy school community.
As a result, all of Ophea’s work is founded in providing quality curriculum supports that build capacity and support and recognize schools in creating the enabling conditions for healthy school communities.
Director of Programs
This partnership, enables Ophea to update its lesson plans, expand its Healthy Schools Certification program, undertake a Knowledge Mobilization strategy and an Evaluation program. This collaboration champions healthy, active living in schools and communities across Ontario.
Coalitions to Advance Food Policies
Revising Canada’s food guide by 2019 to make it more relevant and useful.
Protecting vulnerable populations by restricting the commercial marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages.
Strengthening labelling and claims, plus updating the list of ingredients and nutrition facts table located on food and beverage containers.
Developing new front-of-package nutrition information, particularly concerning sugars, sodium and saturated fat.
Reducing sodium content and eliminating industrially produced trans-fats in foods.
Increasing access to and availability of nutritious foods for isolated communities.
The Foundation is part of the Canadian Food Funder Collaborative. Read our initial letter of support to then Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Jane Philpott.
The Collaborative is concerned that industry influence has delayed taking Bill S-228 (an act to amend the Food & Drugs Act and prohibit food and beverage marketing to children) through the legislative process, finalizing the front-of-package labelling and implementing the new Canada’s Food Guide. It has called on renewed support for Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy. Read the letter to Minister Taylor.
Ontario’s Food & Nutrition Strategy
The Ontario strategy has three directions: Healthy Food Access, Healthy Food Systems and Food Literacy and Skills.
While it is recognized that each strategic area overlaps, and the combination of all three is what drives a healthier lifestyle, The Helderleigh Foundation’s interest is in Food Literacy and Skills. A growing proportion of the population is without both knowledge of (and skills on) how to select ingredients, and prepare healthy meals. See Ontario’s Food & Nutrition Strategy here.
Ninety-five percent (95%) of Ontarians support making food literacy part of the mainstream elementary school curriculum. Only thirty six percent ( 36%) of students who enter grade nine have earned at least one credit in a course that included a literacy component. This is why four health associations have come together to urge Ontario’s Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson to enhance the elementary school curriculum and have at least one food/ nutrition course mandatory for all students in the secondary school curriculum in order to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Read more here.
The Case for a National Food Council
The Helderleigh Foundation endorses the call for a National Food Policy Council. In a letter to the Federal Minister of Agriculture, the case is made for a new independent multi-stakeholder body to monitor and improve coordination across departments and levels of government involved in food. Read more about the benefits of inclusivity when setting food policies.
A Food Policy for Canada
Message from the Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Canadians have responded, with the release of “What We Heard Report – A Food Policy for Canada.” Priorities identified for improving the health of Canadians includes enhancing food literacy and improving food labelling.
Restrictions on Food and Beverage Marketing to Children
As part of The Helderleigh Foundation’s commitment to promoting nutrition literacy, we believe it is essential for federal government to take action on restricting commercial marketing of foods and beverages aimed at children. These restrictions are a critical part of a comprehensive food policy and cultivating healthy-eating environments.
Canadian children and youth are bombarded with ads for unhealthy foods and beverages. They are targeted through multiple channels and settings, including online, at home, at school and in restaurants and rec centres. As Dr. David Hammond states: “companies are utilizing covert tactics to exert their influences at alarming rates, and at a far earlier ages than many of us realize”.
The Helderleigh Foundation is proud to support the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition and the Ottawa Principles. The Coalition is helping to advance Canada's first parliamentary bill–and related regulations–to restrict unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children. This milestone, coupled with strong front-of-package nutrition warning labels and a revised Canada Food Guide have the potential to position Canada as an emerging world leader in nutrition policy.
Plant Based Proteins Grown in Canada
The Helderleigh Foundation is pleased to join Pulse Canada and other funders to support a research study, that if successful, could lead to a change in the regulatory framework with Health Canada, permitting the pulse industry to post nutrient content claims on food packages. Presently industry is not permitted to make any claims for plant based protein content such as being “an excellent source, a good source or a source of protein.” The study, to be completed by early 2019 is a risk assessment analysis to determine the nutritional effects of increasing the proportion of plant based protein sources in the diets of Canadians. Regular consumption and a shift towards a high proportion of plant based foods is a Guiding Principle of Health Canada and its new Food Guide. Eating more plant based foods is part of a plan to encourage Canadians to eat more fibre rich foods, reduce consumption of red meats and replace foods that contain mostly saturated fat with foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat. We believe this assessment will be the last scientific requirement ahead of Health Canada’s consideration to adopt this change in policy.
For more information on the benefits of pulses, visit Pulse Canada.