The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program was announced in July 1994. This ongoing federal Program is delivered through the Community Action Program for children, a component of the Brighter Futures Initiative. The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program was one of the Programs promised in Creating Opportunity.

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program is a comprehensive Program designed to provide food supplementation, nutrition counselling, support, education, referral and counselling on lifestyle issues to pregnant women who are most likely to have unhealthy babies.

There are approximately 400,000 births every year in Canada. Of these, an estimated 10% of births are at risk due to poor health and malnutrition of the mother. Poor nutrition is a risk factor for low birth weight (less than 2500 grams). Low birth weight is the determining factor in about two-thirds of all deaths among newborns, and those that survive are at a greater risk of developing serious and lifelong disabilities. At 5.5% in 1990, there has been a minimal reduction in the rate of low birth weight over the last few years.

The Program delivered through Health Canada regional offices, funds community groups to establish and deliver services that address the needs of low income pregnant women. Long-term financial assistance is provided through contributions to support these services. The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program support comprehensive community based services, especially designed to build upon existing prenatal health programs across Canada. It offers resources, based on population (number of births) to provinces and territories to expand prenatal nutrition programs, and in cases where they do not exist, to assist in setting them up. The Program establishes and enhances services but does not duplicate or replace other government services.

Targets Groups:

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program is jointly managed by the Federal government and Provincial/Territorial governments. Administrative Protocols, established through the Community Action Program for Children, set out the terms and conditions of how the Program will be managed in Province/Territory.

Contact: Judy Watson
(613) 952-0240

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