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What is PACE Canada?

PACE Canada is a comprehensive guide to counseling for healthy active living designed to assist health care providers in effectively increasing their patients’ physical activity levels and improving their eating habits. Research has demonstrated that the PACE intervention is effective in helping patients move towards more healthy active living, and that the program is acceptable to health care providers, office staff and patients. As well, the program does not require staff to have special medical training and can be used effectively by a wide range of primary care providers.

PACE Canada includes both a Tool Kit and Counseling Guide and is the Canadian adaptation of PACE, an internationally recognized program, originally developed by a team of physicians, leading health researchers, behavioural scientists and medical practitioners at San Diego State University. PACE Canada addresses major barriers to physician and health care provider counseling in that it requires only two to five minutes of providers' time to administer and focuses on moderate intensity activities that are safe, effective, and familiar to the patient.

PACE Canada also addresses the provider's need for accurate and up-to-date research and information on physical activity, nutrition and health, and provides training opportunities on effective behavior-change techniques to assist them in counseling their patients.

How does PACE Canada work?

PACE Canada consists of four steps:

Step #1: Select and inform patient
Step #2: Administer assessment
Step #3: Counsel patient
Step #4: Follow-up with patient

The PACE Canada Tool Kit and Counseling Guide

The PACE Canada counseling materials include:

  1. Intervention Overview
  2. Patient Assessment
  3. Special Population Section, including Counseling for Older Adults
  4. Record Keeping and Follow up
  5. Additional resources
  6. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating
  7. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living
  8. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living for Older Adults
  9. Canada's Physical Activity for Children and Youth

The PACE Canada counseling materials are available to trained health care providers through the limited access area .

Training in administering PACE Canada in primary care settings is currently available online through our PACE Canada Online Training Module and through occasional workshops.


1 Long, B.J., Calfas, K.J., et al. (1996). A multisite field test of the acceptability of physical activity counseling in primary care: Project PACE. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12(2): 73-81.

2 Calfas, K.J., Long, B.J., Sallis, J.F., et al. (1996). A controlled trial of physician counseling to promote the adoption of physical activity. Preventive Medicine, 25: 225-233.