May 1, 2018: The Commons Health Committee has completed debate on amendments to the Liberal-sponsored Bill restricting marketing of food and beverages, leaving the door open to possible restrictions on marketers’ rights to advertise to adults.
Bill S-228 will now be reported to the House of Commons with amendments previously announced by the Liberals:
- Redefining children as under age 13 rather than under age 17
- Implementing a parliamentary review of the bill in five years to examine the outcomes on childhood obesity and whether teenagers are being subjected to more advertising due to the restriction on marketing to children
The majority-Liberal committee rejected a proposal to re-word the Bill to ensure there are no adverse impacts for sponsorships. The Bill’s sponsor, MP Doug Eyolfson, said regulators would address community sponsorships but made no corresponding commitment for amateur and professional sports sponsorships.
We expect the Bill to receive Royal Assent by mid-June 2018. It would come into force two years from the day it receives royal assent.
Advertisers fully support the goal of combatting childhood obesity. However, the Bill and regulatory framework floated in Health Canada’s Discussion Paper will do little to address the complex issue of obesity while having a cataclysmic impact on the Canadian economy. ACA is disappointed that despite our April 23 testimony to the Committee and months-long briefings by an ACA-led industry coalition to officials and political staff, the Bill has not been amended to ensure it does not unreasonably limit advertising to adults.
In the interim, ACA will press officials to conduct thorough consultation in advance of Health Canada releasing its proposed regulations to bring the disparate objectives of all stakeholders into closer alignment.
We will continue to meet with officials to develop an evidence-based strategy to deal with childhood obesity that does not impinge upon marketers’ rights to advertise to adults.
If you have any questions or receive any media inquiries, please send them my way.
Ron Lund, President & CEO
(416) 964-0700 | rlund@ACAweb.ca