A law designed to restrict the advertising of food and beverages directed to children should go through the legislative steps in 2018, while the liberal government wants to tackle the obesity rates.
Bill S-228 has been put forward by the ex-olympian and senator Nancy Greene Raine, who believes that the tightening of the rules will help to improve the situation even if there is no magic formula to solve the problem.
According to it, limit advertising to children remains the simplest measure to adopt.
Ms. Greene Raine points out that the food industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars to promote junk food to children, and that it continues to do it because it works.
The bill introduced by the senator has reached the stage of second reading in the House of commons, where it is sponsored by the liberal mp Doug Eyolfson. The law would only come into effect two years after having received the royal assent.
Doug Eyolfson, a doctor of Winnipeg, said to be “quite confident” that the project will become law in 2018, stressing that it would boast the foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children.
“We know that advertising works on all age groups and when you adopt eating behaviors in childhood, will last practically your whole life,” said the mp who defended the bill.
Mr. Eyolfson added that there is an urgent need to act, because it is a public health problem that needs to be corrected.
The food industry objected to several aspects of the bill, including the fact that it would apply to any person under the age of 17 years.
An objection to which the minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor responded by stating that the project will be amended to set the age to 13 years of age. A threshold based on the articles 248 and 249 of the quebec Law on the protection of the consumer.
The minister said he had taken this decision in order to avoid litigation, since the case law on the subject exists in Quebec.
The government also wants to ensure that the sponsorship of sports will be excluded from the act, such as the program of hockey and Timbits, sponsored by the coffee-shop chain Tim Hortons.