Our key focus is on continuing to make a real impact and improve the daily quality of life for the food allergy community. We have highlighted a few of our current advocacy and long-term initiatives below.
Plus, read more on how we are making a difference our Impact Report. You’ll learn about our key milestones, hear from our Executive Director and Board Chair, and get inspired by parents and others as they share how this organization has made a difference.
Current advocacy initiatives
Access to accurate ingredient information
We’re committed to ensuring you have access to accurate ingredient information and always know what’s in your food. Food labelling issues and variations in allergen management practices within the food industry have resulted in severe allergic reactions, limited safe food options, and a lack of consumer confidence in being able to assess the true risk associated with precautionary allergen labelling (“may contain” statements).
Allergen management guidelines
In 2020, we initiated a multi-year collaboration with Université Laval, Maple Leaf Foods, and Health Canada to make “may contain” meaningful. Working with the food industry, academia, healthcare, and government, the objective of this collaboration was to develop food industry consensus-based guidelines on allergen risk management, including criteria for the use of precautionary allergen labelling. In 2021, we sought to understand your perspectives and what “may contain” labelling meant to you. With your input, we continued to work with Université Laval, Health Canada, and 16 food manufacturers on the development of food industry guidelines, which were released in 2022.
Natural health product labelling regulations
Our 5 years of advocacy efforts helped lead to labelling changes for natural health products, including vitamins and minerals, probiotics, herbal remedies, and homeopathic and traditional medicines. We continuously engaged with Health Canada to ensure food allergens would be included when labelling updates were being considered for these products. In the summer of 2022, Health Canada announced new amendments to the Natural Health Products Regulations, which now include enhanced labelling for priority food allergens.
These initiatives are another step forward in making it easier for the food allergy community to make safe, informed choices.
Our advocacy also extends to access to accurate ingredient information for food products being sold online in Canada, cosmetic products, and standardized beer. In all cases, we were actively involved in the Health Canada consultations and many of you also spoke up to have your say.
Access to epinephrine
We are invested in our advocacy efforts to ensure you always have access to epinephrine. We are advocating with Health Canada and other key stakeholders, helping to encourage other suppliers to enter this space, educating and informing you and others on how to access these devices, and engaging with allergists and other healthcare professionals.
In 2022, we outreached to our community to help keep epinephrine auto-injectors exempt on Health Canada’s prescription drug list.
Access to allergy care
Timely access to an allergist is an ongoing concern across the country due to shortages in many areas and long wait times.
The reductions in allergy care in Newfoundland and Labrador, where access to such care is already limited, prompted us to take action in 2022. Our advocacy efforts led to a meeting with representatives from the Health Minister’s office to discuss change.
The lack of practicing allergists in Prince Edward Island, which caused patients to travel to other provinces to see one, spurred us into action in 2019. By engaging the community, we helped prioritize the need for allergy care. In late 2023, PEI will have its first allergist.
Our foodservice advocacy is aimed at ensuring you can eat out safely by having access to the information you need to make an informed dining choice. This includes working with key stakeholder groups to help create change in the foodservice sector, creation of voluntary guidelines on food allergen management, and other resources and tools.
Visit our foodservice page to learn more about training available for foodservice.
Long-term advocacy initiatives
National Food Allergy Action Plan
We are committed to advocating towards making food allergy a health priority in Canada. In 2019, we, along with the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) presented our National Food Allergy Action Plan at Parliament Hill as a part of our advocacy day with government.
Our action plan is intended to set the framework to guide future actions for improving the quality of life for Canadians with food allergy and reducing the impact of this medical condition. Specifically, it focuses on greater support in the areas of prevention, management, treatment, and broad-based community support of food allergy.
In 2020 we continued to amplify the food allergy conversation with government through the National Food Allergy Action Plan. We connected with over 40 Members of Parliament from across the country and met with key staff in the Finance Committee and within the Ministry of Health. As a result of reaching out to our community to #MakeFoodAllergyCount during the federal election in September 2021, more than 500 people sent their federal candidates a letter, reaching 189 ridings nationally. This helped to create space for food allergy, opening the door for us to continue engaging with government, and seeking support of the Plan. Additionally, we submitted 2021, 2022, and 2023 federal budget requests.
Ultimately, our goal is to have a fully funded plan that, once executed, will reduce the impact of food allergy, and improve the quality of life for Canadians affected by food allergy.
Visit our National Food Allergy Action Plan page to find out how you can get involved and help to #MakeFoodAllergyCount!
Other advocacy initiatives
Healthcare professional outreach
There are a limited number of allergists across the country, and many of you may only have an opportunity to see your allergist once a year. For those who are newly diagnosed, they may have to wait months up to years before seeing an allergist. This means, ensuring other healthcare professionals are educated about food allergies and how to support your needs is crucial.
We are focused on our outreach efforts with healthcare professionals (like Family Physicians, Paediatricians, and other healthcare providers) to ensure all Canadians with food allergies receive the support they need to live confidently with this medical condition.
Check out our current healthcare professional section to see our current resources.
Small but mighty
The entire staff of Food Allergy Canada could fit around a boardroom table. Actually, make that one end of a boardroom table! But that doesn’t stop us from taking on the big issues.
Managing food allergy is a shared responsibility, and we rely on partners like you to help us make a difference.
Join us and make an impact. There are many ways you can make a significant impact.