How Does Obesity Canada Work with Stakeholders?

Obesity Canada collaborates with a wide range of partners, including those in government, local communities, businesses, other charities and individuals.

Our Fund for Obesity Collaboration and Unified Strategies (FOCUS)  leverages resources from Canadian leaders in research, business and the public sector to fund our research, education and outreach initiatives. Individual and philanthropic donations also support our work.

Obesity Canada Corporate Supporters: 

Ready to collaborate? Contact:

Dawn Hatanaka
Executive Director

Policy Number OC #1 (CON # 2)
Date of issue April 2008
Updated  June 2010, November 2012, June 2013; July 2018, Nov 2019
Issuing Authority OC Partnership Committee
Enquiries Executive Director
Approved Electronic Vote


Obesity Canada was established through the Networks of Centres of Excellence Program in 2005. Since 2018, Obesity Canada has functioned as a registered charity with the mission to improve the lives of Canadians through obesity research, education, and advocacy.

Our vision is a day when people affected by the disease of obesity are understood, respected, and living healthy lives.

Our core values are:

  • Respect: We believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. To this end, Obesity Canada works toward reducing weight bias and stigma through research, education and advocacy.
  • Evidence-Based: Obesity Canada aims to facilitate knowledge exchange regarding obesity prevention, treatment and policy.

Obesity Canada has three strategic objectives:

  • Research
      • Support, build, and nurture our research network and ecosystem.
      • Identify and communicate gaps in knowledge.
  • Education
      • Facilitate and amplify knowledge exchange and engage in knowledge translation.
      • Work towards eliminating obesity stigma through education, research, and advocacy.
  • Advocacy
    • Create a movement by building our membership.
    • Shape and inform public policy.
    • Legally, medically, and socially establish obesity as a disease.

Specifically, Obesity Canada advocates for:

  1. designation of obesity as a chronic disease in healthcare, social and public policies;
  2. equal treatment as other chronic diseases;
  3. elimination of weight bias and stigma;
  4. increased research for obesity prevention and treatment

Obesity Canada recognizes that we cannot achieve our mission alone. This is why we connect organizations across sectors to reduce duplication and increase impact through coherent efforts. We also recognize that OC has multiple accountabilities and believe that transparency is essential. 


Partnerships are at the core of OC’s strategies. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to OC relations with financial partners. This policy will be reviewed every two years or earlier if necessary.

Why we need partnerships

Over 60% of Canadians are currently affected by overweight and obesity, and solutions to prevent and treat obesity are not coordinated. Comprehensive public, private and non-governmental initiatives on obesity prevention and treatment are urgently needed in order to reverse this epidemic.  Obesity is a complex issue that requires broad stakeholder engagement. To address the obesity in Canada, OC recognizes that building partnerships between stakeholders such as researchers, government, civil society, the private sector, professional networks, the media and international organizations is essential to addressing the obesity epidemic. 

Partnerships can provide additional financial resources for capacity building, knowledge exchange, and networking, but their importance goes far beyond funding. By working with partners, OC can build support for obesity research and action and minimize redundant work. 

Policy Objectives

The objectives of this policy are to:

  • Manage risk and protect the integrity and reputation of OC
  • Manage duality of interest/conflict of interest; 
  • Ensure due diligence and proper disclosure; and
  • Increase transparency and accountability.


Partnership Goals

OC will enter into agreements with public and private organizations in order to:

  • Enhance the impact of OC’s activities (including sponsorships for conferences, workshops, preceptorships, student meetings and research boot camps, public outreach, CONDUIT publications, travel awards, knowledge translation programs, networking opportunities, communications and marketing strategies, public engagement and advocacy efforts, etc);
  • Increase opportunities for fostering innovations and investments toward cost-effective solutions to prevent, control and treat obesity;
  • Increase the accessibility, relevance and use of obesity research; 
  • Increase national and international recognition of OC as a major partner in developing obesity research, practice and policy strategies; and, 
  • Diversify the revenue streams of OC.

Principles to Guide Relationships

When partnering or seeking sponsorship from a public or private organizations, OC will abide by the following principles:

  1. The relationship shall support OC’s Vision, Mission and Strategic goals.
  2. The relationship shall not contravene OC’s by-laws or Federal Acts and Regulations.
  3. OC will not endorse a commercial product or service. 
  4. No relationship shall interfere with the right of OC to enter into any other. OC will remain open to all new partnership opportunities that contribute to effective and innovative obesity strategies and solutions, or funding to support these activities.

It is further stipulated that,

  • OC will maintain content control and/or approve the content of all information and health promotion resources resulting from corporate relationships including the use of the OC brand, trademarks and website.  OC will use disclaimers on all such information and health promotion resources. 
  • The partner will have no authority to direct or influence the scientific aspects of OC research, education, and advocacy. OC activities are project based, scientifically sound and not partner specific. In some situations the partner may direct funding to specific OC activities that are consistent with our Vision, Mission and Strategic goals (e.g. Canadian Obesity Summit). A partner will not set any conditions that:
    • prevents OC or its members from making inferences from their research, education, and advocacy activities;
    • interferes with the views of OC and its members to be presented at OC events or other communication mechanisms;
    • restricts the dissemination of research results from OC members;
    • entails any obligation to support in any way the goals of the partner, except those goals that have been agreed upon in partnership agreements with respect to specific joint activities;
    • could result in, through other kinds of coercion, restrictions to OC’s research, education, and advocacy mandate.
  • Every relationship will be assessed for potential risks, managed ethically, and with transparency to ensure common understanding and expectations between OC and its multiple accountabilities.
    • A partnership agreement will be signed by all partners (Appendix A);
    • Partners will receive recognition for funding efforts to address obesity and for the specific initiatives they support;
    • OC will use the funds in ways that are appropriate and free from bias;
    • No OC policy or initiative will be influenced by our partnerships at any time.
  • Every relationship will be operated with managerial transparency, fiscal and public accountability.
    • OC will make these partnership policies clear to all partners before accepting funding;
    • OC will disclose all sources of recent (five years) and current funding on our website and/or event materials.
    • As a general rule, OC’s financial contribution should not exceed that of the private-sector partner.


OC may enter into one-time agreements or multi-year agreements with partners. Partnerships seek to provide corporate, not-for-profit and institutional partners the opportunity to add their voice, insights and energies to a coherent effort to address obesity. Partners may choose to support OC through the Partnership Program, a multi-level sustainability program that supports the efforts of the network. All funding received through this program will be used to support OC’s operational costs aimed at advancing the network’s mission, vision and strategic goals. This type of support is different from specific sponsorships

For the purpose of the Partnership Program, “a partnership is a formalized working relationship between two or more organizations with separate identities and independent accountabilities and is based on mutual benefit and a clear understanding or agreement that sets out the shared goal and objectives and the terms of the arrangement”.

  • Recognize and acknowledge each other’s values and needs;
  • Have a relationship of trust and respect built on effective communications;
  • Have a commitment to the partnership;
  • Work together closely in the planning and implementation of strategies to achieve the goal and objectives;
  • Contribute resources (financial and/or in-kind); 
  • Agree to a fair allocation of risk-taking; and
  • Work together to review, evaluate and report on joint activities.

All partnerships are formalized through Partnership Agreements (Appendix A). A written agreement will be created for each public/private relationship made.  Each agreement will indicate the length and description of the relationship. 


“A collaboration is an interaction between two or more parties guided, as in a partnership, by shared interests. However, unlike a partnership, the parties may not all contribute resources or share equally in the benefits or risk taking. They do, however, agree to share information openly and act cooperatively”.  This would include activities such as meetings with health associations, health regions, professional associations, research institutions, etc. to share information on activities and identify common issues and interests.


Sponsorship occurs when a business makes a donation toward the cost of a charity’s activity or event and, in return, the charity advertises or promotes the business’s brand, products or services. If a business receives the same level of recognition as all other donors, with no special treatment, and the recognition is minimal (for example, a simple acknowledgment), the charity can issue the business a receipt for the full amount of the donation. If a business receives special recognition for its donation, or if it receives more than minimal recognition (for example, banners or advertising of products), this is considered sponsorship. Sponsorship is an advantage and its fair market value is generally deducted from the amount of the donation for receipting purposes. It is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the value for sponsorship. When the value cannot be calculated, the charity cannot issue the business an official donation receipt. However, the business may be able to include the sponsorship costs in its advertising expenses, but only if this sponsorship is considered reasonable and was given with the intent of generating income.

All corporate sponsorship above $35,000 per year will be approved by the OC Board of Directors.

Types of Partners

To achieve its mandate and strategic goals, OC will partner with variety of stakeholders including the public, health charities, professional associations, governments, universities, health organizations, other research agencies, industry and international organizations. 

Industry Partnerships

OC bridges the gap between researchers and the private sector in order to strengthen research training capacity, support the development of obesity innovations, and contribute to a healthy economy and society. OC will enter into dialogue with all potential private sector partners in a variety of sectors related to the OC mission (food and nutrition, physical activity, pharmaceutical, insurance, surgery and equipment, etc). 

International Partnerships

Obesity is increasing rapidly around the globe and at a considerably faster rate in developing countries due to globalization factors such economic and nutritional transitions.  Many countries are developing national policies, inter-sectoral collaborative platforms, regulations and/or legislations, guidelines, and information initiatives to counteract the obesity epidemic. International bodies, such as the WHO are also developing obesity prevention strategies. The WHO obesity strategy, as an example, calls upon all stakeholders to take action at global, regional and local levels, recognizing that many of the key factors/determinants of obesity cross country borders and have implications for national policies. 

Obesity Canada is increasingly recognized as a leading research, education and advocacy organization globally. Obesity Canada will also support international research and networking opportunities. The objectives of Obesity Canada’s international partnership activities are:

  • To increase international recognition of Canadian obesity research, education, and advocacy efforts;
  • To facilitate effective international research, education, and advocacy cooperation ;
  • To share innovative technological information needed to maintain Canada’s obesity research community’s competitive edge; and
  • To provide opportunities for Canadian obesity researchers and students to gain international knowledge and intercultural skills necessary to address the global obesity challenge.