FAQ

Q: How do companies join the Health Check program?

A: Companies must earn the right to display the Health Check symbol by meeting  the program’s nutrient criteria. If the product meets our nutrient criteria the company pays a modest annual licensing fee to participate in the program. Health Check is run on a cost-recovery basis. All of the fees go towards the cost of running this independent, not-for-profit program. The company's financial support is indicated on every product package that bears the Health Check symbol.  Just over 40 percent of the companies pay as low as $300 to be part of the program.

Q: Does the Heart and Stroke Foundation make money from this program?

A: No. The Health Check program does not raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Health Check is a cost recovery, or non-profit program. Once a product meets the nutrient criteria, companies pay an annual licensing fee. All of these fees  are used to run the program and develop tools to educate consumers on healthy eating.   Participation in the Health Check program is independent of any fundraising the Foundation may conduct to  reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. A number of Health Check companies do make separate donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation to support the Foundation’s work around eliminating heart disease and stroke. These contributions are independent and have no connection with companies’ participation in Health Check.

Q: Who created the Health Check program?

A: The Health Check program was created by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in consultation with a group of experts from the fields of nutrition, education, medicine, communication, and industry. We also consulted with the federal government via Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Q: Why did the Heart and Stroke Foundation develop Health Check?

A: The Health Check program was developed to meet the needs of healthy Canadians.  Consumer feedback indicated that individuals wanted assistance in identifying healthy food products, especially in processed foods where the choices are difficult to make.  Any exisiting tools on the market were either too confusing or insufficient to meet their needs. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation chose to take a leadership role in developing Health Check as Canada's only independent third party symbol based program, like the ones that were being run successfully by Heart Foundations in other countries. We recognized that along with health professionals and nutrition experts, we needed to engage the food industry to develop healthier products or reformulate existing products.

Q: Why do some foods not display the Health Check symbol?

A: Health Check is a voluntary program open to all food companies and restaurants in Canada. Participants choose to have their products evaluated and be part of the program. There may be a number of reasons why foods may not bear the Health Check symbol: 

  • The food may not meet the Health Check nutrient criteria. 
  • A company may be in the process of applying to the program. 
  • A company may choose not to participate, even if the product/menu item could meet the criteria.