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New Research Partner Joins Fresh Food Weekly to Seek Federal Funding

Updated: Mar 22

The Canada Health Care Act’s primary objective of Canadian health care policy includes facilitating reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers. However, the Canada Health Act doesn't define what a medically necessary service is and provincial health care insurance plans only cover the costs of medically necessary services. Provincial health insurance are consulted on with their respective physician colleges or groups and together, they decide which services are medically necessary for health care insurance purposes.

After scouring the region for funding sources, there doesn't appear to be any substantial grant or funding source that would cover the costs of a whole new program, and to do things like hire multiple staff, build infrastructure, and pay for other essential costs. Unless a billionaire like Mike Bloomberg shows up, the likely source of funding for the proposed research study will come through a provincial or federal funding agency.

The following excerpts have been copied and pasted from The CIHR Act:


4 The Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act’s objective is to excel in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system, by; 

(f) addressing emerging health threats and accelerating the discovery of treatments to prevention strategies.

5 The powers and functions of the CIHR are to

(a) promote, assist and undertake health research; and

(e) advise the Minister in respect of any matter relating to health research or health policy;

14 The Governing Council is responsible for

(e) approving funding for research.


26 The CIHR may,

(a) provide funding to promote, assist and undertake health research; and

(b) enter into contracts with any organization.

The CIHR’s Strategic Plan: Year 3

In the CIHR’s Strategic Plan 2021-2031, Year 3 of their Action Plan is 2023-2024 and they’ve made Priority D all about engaging with people with Lived Experience:

The Fresh Food Weekly nutrition-based intervention program was designed and executed by one its own program recipients; Leah Dyck. Leah's Lived Experience allows her to put herself in the shoes of the most vulnerable because she's been a part of this population group herself for a very long time. Having lived in public housing since 2008, and having been on and off of ODSP since 2017, Leah's Lived Experience has uniquely qualified her to design food systems within the context of urban health planning for vulnerable population groups, as her own experiences have enabled her to put significant consideration into the social mobility issues plaguing her community.  

Senior Research Partner Joins Our Team

Leah has been connected with Simon Berge, a Researcher, and Professor at Dalhousie University with the longest resume she’s ever seen, which includes a Doctor of Philosophy in Rural Studies from the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. In the past, he’s also worked in policy-making for the Ontario provincial government.

Fresh Food Weekly is excited to announce that Simon has agreed to partner with Fresh Food Weekly and Leah to help her move her work forward by applying for at least two grants to fund her proposed research study. Simon would like to to apply for a CIHR grant to measure health outcomes, as well as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant to measure social outcomes. Both grants are federally funded.

Our next step is to put a local team together, and Simon is currently working on a draft proposal in which we intend to bring to parties we hope will be interested in joining us in our pursuit to feed not just feed low-income families in Barrie and Innisfil, but all low-income families in Canada.

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