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Healthy living

Browse creative ideas to encourage and promote healthy living.

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View the ideas submitted to Healthy living

The problem

Although traditional health care often focuses on care after someone is sick, healthy living – for example, eating well, exercising regularly, and not smoking – is one of the best ways to prevent health problems in the future.

We know that:

  • eating healthy can help protect you from heart disease and stroke, and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer
  • people who are physically active are less likely to develop heart disease and other chronic health problems
  • if you stop smoking, within 24 hours, your risk of heart attack starts to drop and within 5 years your risk of stroke is the same as someone who never smoked

Although we offer programs and supports to help people stay healthy, have introduced menu labelling to help people make informed and healthier food choices and are helping smokers quit, what new and creative ideas and technologies should we consider to help people stay healthy?

Who we're trying to help

While everyone can benefit from adopting healthy living, due to factors beyond their control there are groups in the province that may be more at risk for developing certain chronic diseases, such as, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and asthma. These groups include, people:

  • living on low incomes
  • in rural and remote communities
  • with mental health and addiction concerns
  • from certain racial backgrounds


We are looking for ideas that promote health for everyone and/or offer new ways of connecting with groups that have traditionally been hard to reach.

What we're doing/have done

Healthy living

We fund 36 Public Health Units (opens in a new window) across the province. They offer healthy living programs, mental health promotion and disease prevention information for members of their local communities.

Smoke-Free Ontario

In 2007, we launched Smoke-Free Ontario (opens in a new window) which combines programs, policies, laws and public education to help:

  • smokers quit
  • protect people from exposure to second-hand smoke
  • encourage young people to never start

Healthy kids

Through the Healthy Kids Community Challenge (opens in a new window) we give money, training and social marketing tools to 45 communities across the province, to run programs about healthy eating and being active for kids and their families. This program reaches 40% of Ontario’s population including Indigenous populations served by six Aboriginal Health Access Centres and Community Health Centres. 

We also offer free fruit and vegetables to elementary and middle school students in the districts of Algoma, Porcupine and Sudbury through the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program. The program reaches over 190 schools and approximately 37,000 students every year.

We partner with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to help pay for the Student Nutrition Program (opens in a new window), which helps provide nutritious meals and snacks in schools. During the 2015-16 school year, the program served nearly 900,000 children and youth.

Menu labelling

We also introduced the Healthy Menu Choices Act (opens in a new window), which requires all food-service chains with 20 or more locations in Ontario, to post the number of calories in the food and drink items they sell.

Learn more

Learn more about:


242 ideas submitted to Healthy living


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"Pop-Up Health Healing Clinics

Temporary mental health support clinics

This idea was selected for voting.

Health Healing Clinics that would "pop-up" in communities as permanence is not possible. Specializing in topics to promote self-care. Grief counselling or circles (loss of loved ones eg.

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Updated on November 3, 2017 by JSugar.  11 comments

Build 25 Community "Autism Support Hubs" around Ontario

Increase access to support for people with Autism

This idea was selected for voting.

I propose the creation of 25 Autism Support Hubs across the province of Ontario.

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Created on November 3, 2017 by JohnDowning.

Hands-On Food Education Included in Kinder/Elementary School Curriculum

Food education for kindergarten and elementary students

This idea was selected for voting.

The idea is for the government to provide budget funding for all kindergarten/ elementary children in Ontario to participate in evidence based, hands-on food education programming, including gardening, as a required part of the school curriculum.

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Created on November 3, 2017 by Janet Nezon.

How much of our wasted food can go to families in need?

Research study to reduce food waste from retailers

This idea was selected for voting.

Healthy living is unaffordable yet supermarkets throw out tonnes of food a day. Ontario needs to conduct a research study on the amount of food wasted by supermarkets weekly and how much of this food can be donated to food banks.

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Created on November 3, 2017 by hdewett.

supportive, supervised housing for persons with complex mental health issues

Supervised housing for people with mental health issues

This idea was selected for voting.

My idea would provide funding to small and First Nation Communities to build and operate supervised housing for persons with complex mental health issues.

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Created on October 20, 2017 by E. Chegahno.  1 comment

Teach emotional resilience in schools

Increase mental health programs for students

This idea was selected for voting.

Teach children emitional resilience skills in grade school instead of waiting until they become depressed/anxious/drug addicts

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Created on October 31, 2017 by Drcjrogers.  1 comment

To develop a youth driven greenhouse to address food security and poverty in Northern Ontario

Increase access to healthy food in Northern Ontario

This idea was selected for voting.

The Youth of the James and Hudson Bay would like to join forces start a Greenhouse business to grow healthy fruit and vegetables to sell and distribute to communities in the James and Hudson Bay Region.

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Created on October 29, 2017 by vicky.  2 comments

Web based therapy as a strategy to provide mental health support to Aboriginal Youth

Online mental health support for Aboriginal youth

This idea was selected for voting.

It has long been evident that Aboriginal youth have been in crisis. They have a suicide rate 50 times than that of their peers.

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Created on November 4, 2017 by Taye.  1 comment

Boost Veggies and Fruit

Honourable mention. While this idea was not ultimately selected, it has been shared with the appropriate Ministry for future consideration.

Healthy eating can be expensive. We should conduct a pilot study where all fruits and vegetables are subsidized to encourage shoppers to reach for fresh or frozen produce over highly processed foods.

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Created on October 24, 2017 by EBray.

Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Honourable mention. While this idea was not ultimately selected, it has been shared with the appropriate Ministry for future consideration.

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a significant public health issue, with vast mental & physical health, financial, societal, and personal consequences. Above all, it is preventable.

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Created on November 3, 2017 by Dr. Ainslie Heasman.  9 comments

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