Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Most Canadians consume far more salt than is healthy and most of this comes from processed food. Excess sodium intake is a major contributor to high blood pressure and high blood pressure is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart attack) and further associated with increased risk of stomach cancer, osteoporosis, asthma and several other health conditions.

In 2010 federal, provincial and territorial ministers of health agreed to national goal of reducing the average daily sodium intake of Canadians to 2,300 mg by 2016. The average daily sodium intake of Canadians currently is 3,400 mg/day – well above safe and recommended levels. In November 2011, the Federal Government rejected a Federal/Provincial and Territorial plan to reduce dietary sodium, blurring their former commitment.

This petition asks that the Government of Canada commit to, and establish, a national sodium reduction strategy for Canada, which includes setting and monitoring sodium reduction targets and timelines.


We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, draw the attention of the Government of Canada to the following:

WHEREAS an estimated 2 million Canadians have hypertension caused by excess dietary sodium;

WHEREAS hypertension is a leading preventable risk factor for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and is a major contributor to premature death and disability;

WHEREAS 77% of dietary sodium comes from processed foods, requiring action by the food industry to reduce sodium in the food supply;

WHEREAS Canadians average daily sodium intake is 3,400 mg/day – more than double the recommended daily intake level and greatly exceeding the upper intake level of 2,300 mg/day;

WHEREAS for every year there is a delay in reducing sodium to recommended levels, an estimated 14,000 Canadians will die of cardiovascular disease; 40,000 Canadians will be hospitalized; 125,000 Canadians will be newly diagnosed with hypertension and over 1.4 billion dollars will be spent in direct health care costs;

WHEREAS there is strong evidence that the reduction of sodium is a highly cost-effective intervention to prevent and control chronic diseases;

WHEREAS Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health agreed to a national sodium reduction goal of 2,300mg/day by 2016 based on the harmful effect of sodium intake on cardiovascular disease;

WHEREAS the Government of Canada has taken some positive steps towards reducing the sodium intake of Canadians, but stronger federal action is needed to reduce the population average sodium intake of Canadians to safe and recommended levels.

THEREFORE, your petitioners, the residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:

1. Commit to sodium reduction targets for foods along with defined timelines ;
2. Develop a mechanism to have industry publicly commit to the targets;
3. Closely monitor and publicly report on the sodium intakes of Canadians, the sources of sodium in Canadian diets, the progress of companies towards meeting sodium targets in food and the levels of sodium in individual food products; and
4. Evaluate voluntary adherence to targets and timelines with consideration to the development of a national regulatory approach if the voluntary approach is shown to be unworkable or ineffective.

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The Federal Commitment to a Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada petition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was written by Tara Duhaney and is in the category Health at GoPetition.