HomeOur impact, advocacy, and servicesAdvocacy and impactWhat we do: current advocacy initiatives

What we do: current advocacy initiatives

Our key focus is on continuing to make a real impact and improve the daily quality of life for Canadians with food allergy.

Beatrice on a panel discussion with Restaurants Canada.

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 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.

Close-up of bottles of COVID-19 vaccine

Advocating during the pandemic

The ever-changing world of COVID-19 has exposed new and underlying issues, requiring individuals and organizations to adapt in response. We took a leadership role in addressing COVID-19 specific issues that impacted the food allergy community.

As the pandemic remains ongoing in 2022, we are committed to educating, supporting, and advocating for Canadians at risk of anaphylaxis to ensure they continue to be well informed, can make educated choices, and have a voice with Health Canada and others.

Visit our Advocating during the pandemic page to learn more on how we are supporting you during this time.

Long-term advocacy initiatives

Parliament Hill

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.

We continued to amplify the food allergy conversation with government through the National Food Allergy Action Plan in 2020. 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 also submitted 2021 and 2022 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. 

The COVID-19 pandemic experience has also reinforced specific recommendations in the National Food Allergy Action Plan that we will continue to advocate on: national education on anaphylaxis; national education and support on the prevention of food allergy; access to accurate ingredient information – in food and non-food items, and across all the different ways you can purchase food.

Visit our National Food Allergy Action Plan page to find out how you can get involved and help to #MakeFoodAllergyCount!

Product ingredient label

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).

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 is 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 will be published in 2022.

Our advocacy also extends to access to accurate ingredient information for food products being sold online in Canada, cosmetic products, natural health products, and on 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.

Other advocacy initiatives

Boy holding EpiPen

Advocacy for 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.

Check out our advocacy initiatives which helped bring a second and third supplier for epinephrine auto-injectors to Canada in 2020. Read our statement, along with kaléo’s statement on the arrival of ALLERJECT®. Read our statement, along with Bausch Health’s statement on the arrival of Emerade™.

Head chef posing with the team behind him in a profesional kitchen

Foodservice advocacy

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.

Jennifer Gerdts (left) at the FAAM conference in Copengahen.

Healthcare professional outreach

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 Emergency Department physicians and nurses, Pediatricians, and Family Physicians) 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

Food Allergy Canada team smiling at the camera

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.