Nutritional Supplements


Nutritional supplements may be provided to eligible recipients of income assistance, disability assistance, or hardship assistance who need additional calories above a regular diet to recover from surgery, severe injury, serious disease, or the side effects of medical treatment.

Regular infant formula may be provided to children during the first 12 months when there is a medically confirmed risk of disease transmittal from the parent's breast milk; and specialized infant formula may be provided to children who have a confirmed medical condition that requires the specialized formula.

These supplements are available under the Employment and Assistance Regulation and Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation.


Effective:  January 1, 2020

A nutritional supplement may be provided to persons receiving income assistancedisability assistance, or hardship assistance if a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered dietitian confirms in writing that the recipient has an acute, short-term need for caloric supplementation to a regular dietary intake to prevent critical weight loss while recovering from any of the following:  

  • surgery

  • a severe injury

  • a serious disease

  • side effects of medical treatment

Nutritional supplement products (for example, Ensure, Boost, etc.) can be provided for up to three months.

Ineligible Recipients

Nutritional supplement products are not provided in situations where they are being used as food replacement.

Persons in receipt of another nutrition-related supplement are not eligible for short-term nutritional supplements.  Persons must choose one of the nutrition-related supplements for which they are eligible.

Infant Formula

When confirmed by a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered dietitian, specialized infant formula may be provided to a child who has a medical condition that requires specialized formula to treat the condition.

Regular infant formula will be provided during the child’s first 12 months if a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered dietitian confirms that a child is at risk from contracting a disease through breastfeeding.


Effective:  July 1, 2019

All requests for nutritional supplements are assessed by Health Assistance (HA).

The following procedures are to be used to determine eligibility for nutritional supplements.

EAW 1. Confirm that the applicant is eligible to apply for a nutritional supplement. [See Related Links – Health Supplement Summary.]
  2. Verify that there are no other resources available [see Policy].



Ensure that the recipient has provided a written prescription and specific diagnosis from a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered dietitian, including all of the following:

  • prescribed product
  • quantity required
  • expected duration of the need



Forward the Service Request and all documentation to HA for adjudication.

Ensure the service request has all required documentation and is ready for adjudication.

Note: In the case of a medical emergency where the product is needed immediately, set up an Urgent SR to office 070 with a prescription and price quote attached and indicate why immediate need is required.



Assess application to ensure eligibility criteria are met.


If application is approved, an approval letter will be issued to the client and Product Distribution Centre (PDC) or Service Provider. If denied, a denial letter and decision summary outlining reasons for the decision will be sent to the recipient.

Note: It is the recipient's responsibility to contact PDC or other Service Provider to place their order.
  3. Note details.  Details include substantive reasons explaining what is requested and why the eligibility criteria are met (or not met).  

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective:  June 16, 2006

Nutritional Supplements

Health Assistance

  • Assesses eligibility for all emergency, immediate need or ongoing nutritional supplements.

Effective:  May 1, 2005

Health Assistance is responsible for:

  • assessing eligibility for all nutritional supplements and infant formula

Frequently Asked Questions


Question   Can a nutritional supplement be issued for longer than three months?

Answer   No.  By regulation, short-term nutritional supplements can be provided to eligible recipients for up to three months.  If after the three months has passed, the recipient has a further acute need for short-term nutritional supplementation, a second request can be made to Health Assistance.