Health Awareness Canada (HAC) is a registered nonprofit organization with a mission of helping newcomers (e.g. immigrants and refugees) to maintain their health and well-being in Canada – by raising awareness of the importance of food literacy.

Food Literacy among Immigrant Population: Why Should We Care?

With international migration being identified as a critical strategy for Canada’s economic development, newcomers’ health and well-being are important for Canada’s future. In fact, good health and well-being is a key outcome of successful immigration settlement and integration. Thus, there has been a growing focus on improving the health literacy among the immigrant population.

The term health literacy describes the ability to obtain, understand and use health information. Keeping up with the latest health information and what they mean in our daily lives is challenging for everyone – but more so for newcomers with limited English proficiency and little experience in Canada. Enhancing health literacy applies not only to medical settings – but also to a variety of everyday settings such as making everyday food choices.

Immigrants face many challenges in making healthy food choices in Canada, as they often find themselves in a new food environment. Immigrant’s unfamiliarity with grocery stores, lack of awareness of Canadian nutrition discourse, and lack of learned cooking skills present challenges for them. However, very little attention has been paid on food literacy.

Our Mission:

  • Our mission is to help the newcomers (e.g. immigrants and refugees) to maintain their health and well-being in Canada. We strive to fulfill this mission by raising awareness of the importance of food literacy.

Our Motivation:

  • With a significant proportion of Canada’s population being immigrants, this makes it particularly important for us to put greater focus on immigrant health – as it is directly related to various issues such as the cost and adequacy of the Canadian health system.

Our Goals:

  • Health Awareness Canada (H.A.C) aims to raise an awareness of how food literacy may affect immigrants’ health and well-being
  • One of our goals is to create a health information hub for everyone – to collaboratively work together in helping the newcomers
  • We envision becoming a bridge organization to bring together the settlement agencies, community organizations, government ministries, social and health services, and educational institutions
  • Please refer to our “projects” section to read more about our 3C Project (Connect and Change the Community)”