There are several provincial food policies, regulations and guidelines in British Columbia that support healthy eating. The Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools and Informed Dining in Health Care are examples of provincial food policy initiatives that support healthy eating in different settings. Food policy at the federal level also supports healthy eating. Examples of federal food policy include food labelling and advertising regulations, Canada’s Food Guide, and the Food and Drug Regulations.
Informed Dining in Health Care
The Informed Dining in Health Care program requires retail food service establishments located in B.C. health care facilities to provide nutrition information to customers. The information focuses on calories and sodium. The program was developed in consultation with B.C.'s health authorities and has operated since 2016.
The Informed Dining program for restaurants is no longer available. The Informed Dining in Health Care program is still required in retail food service establishments located in health care facilities in B.C.
Trans Fat Help
Industrially produced trans fat increases your risk of heart disease. From 2009 to February 2019, the B.C. government restricted trans fat in all food service establishments. On September 15, 2018, the federal government banned partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the number one contributor of industrially produced trans fat, from the food supply. BC’s Trans Fat Regulation became redundant when the federal PHO ban came into force. On February 11, 2019, the Province of British Columbia repealed its Trans Fat Regulation.
Retailers will have a two-year grace period to clear products from their shelves that were manufactured before the ban. Health Canada’s Notice of Modification provides more information about the ban for food manufacturers and retailers. As trans fat will eventually be eliminated from the food supply, restaurants and other food service establishments in BC no longer need to follow the previous 2% and 5% trans fat restrictions. The province has ceased inspections and compliance reporting for trans fat.
Healthy Families BC
The Healthy Families BC website provides useful information on general healthy eating topics including nutrition basics and grocery shopping. The site also supports provincial food polices such as reducing sodium and sugary drinks.
As part of B.C.’s Sodium Reduction in Health-Care Facilities Initiative, the province is working in partnership with B.C. health authorities to lower the sodium content of patient and resident meals in publicly funded health-care facilities. B.C. health authorities have made significant progress reducing the amount of sodium in meals served to patients and residents and continue to work towards the sodium target.
- Sodium Reduction in Health Care
- Sodium Reduction in Health-Care Facilities – FAQs
- Sodium Reduction in Health-Care Facilities – B.C.’s Experience (November 2016) (PDF 2.05 MB)
- Sodium Sense - Poster
- Cut the Sodium - Handout
Ministry of Education - Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools
The Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools (the Guidelines) define the nutrition standard that schools are required to use to determine what food and beverages can be sold to students. This document contains information, tools and fact sheets to support implementation of the Guidelines across the school setting.
Visit our For Schools and Communities web page for resources to support the Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools.
Ministry of Health – Healthier Choices for Vending Machines in B.C. Public Buildings
The Healthier Choices for Vending Machines in B.C. Public Buildings policy aims to increase healthier food choices in vending machines. The guidelines define which prepackaged foods should be sold most, sold sometimes or not sold based on their ingredients and nutritional content. The guidelines are mandatory for vending machines in B.C. Public Buildings, such as hospitals, universities and government buildings. Other organizations with vending machines or concessions, such as municipal recreation and community centers, are strongly encouraged to adopt this standard for prepackaged food and beverages. Vendors and consumers can use the Brand Name Food List to find out how specific vending products score according to the guidelines.
- Healthier Choices in Vending Machines in BC Public Buildings Policy (PDF 1.09 MB)
- Healthier Choices in Vending Machines in BC Public Buildings: At a Glance
- Stocking Vending Machines with Healthier Prepackaged Food and Beverages
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is a federal agency that works together with industry, consumers, and organizations across the country to protect Canadians from preventable health risks related to food. Learn more about food labeling, advertising requirements, as well as policies which apply to statements and claims made for food and beverages.
Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health. These Health Canada resources provide information on food policy related healthy eating topics.
Last Updated: September 16, 2020