juin 27 2017

New Health Canada Consultation on Unhealthy Food and Beverage advertising to Children

Jonnaert Caroline

On June 10, the Government of Canada announced the launching of a public consultation regarding a potential prohibition of unhealthy food and beverage advertising to children under 17 years of age. Health Canada’s news release states that the “proposed approach aims to protect children from marketing tactics that encourage them to eat unhealthy foods, and supports families in making healthier choices”.

Currently, there is no federal legislation regulating food marketing to children. Last December, we wrote about the federal bill S-228 that seeks to prohibit food and beverage advertising to children under 13 years of age. This bill, which would have modified the federal on Food and Drug has not been adopted to this day.

In fact, Quebec is the only province that restricts advertising directed at children under 13 years of age with the Consumer Protection Act. Several studies have shown that, since the adoption of this prohibition in 1980, the province of Quebec has had positive results with regard to child health. Moreover, the industry has developed the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, to which companies can voluntarily participate and which aims to reduce child obesity and promote child health. While some industry reports show compliance with these standards, other data reveals that these measures have not been enough to reduce children’s exposure to advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages. It is in this context that Health Canada launched its public consultation. The consultation will close on July 25 and is accessible online.

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