Canada Considers Solving Obesity With Taxes

Many Canadians have a problem with eating unhealthy foods and a recent report from the Canadian senate committee says that Canada should be looking to taxes to solve the problem. “We can't sugar coat [the problems] any longer,” said Senate Committee Chair Sen. Kelvin Ogilvie. In an effort to prompt Canadians to make better eating choices, and to try and curb rising problems like heart disease and diabetes, the Senate committee is proposing a sugar tax; among other possible restrictions.


Not only do they want to introduce a new tax on things like sweetened drinks, but they also want to ban advertising food and drink to children under the age of 13 years old. The federal Health Minister, Jane Philpott, has said that she welcomes the report. The senate has spent a good year studying this issue, and they also noted in their report that low-income Canadians were being forced to make unhealthy choices because the unhealthy prepared choices are often less costly than fresh fruits and vegetables. Since they already admit that the cheaper options are usually the unhealthy ones, wouldn't it be safe to assume that these taxes most likely aren't going to prevent low-income families from eating unhealthy things, they are just going to make it cost a little bit more for them to get by? This is a point that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation itself has apparently also parroted in response to the new tax suggestion.


While they apparently want to promote the move toward healthy eating on the one hand, Canadian authorities (in British Columbia) have also recently introduced new efforts to restrict urban growers. They want to establish new regulations that will inhibit the success of those individuals who seek to perhaps save themselves some money by growing some healthy food options of their own at home.


The recent senate report listed at least 21 recommendations that they believe would foster a healthier lifestyle for Canadians. Some individuals who are eager to see force used in an effort to make others choose healthier food options for their body, have celebrated the idea and they welcome a new sugar tax. Others criticize the move and say that there is little evidence to prove that such a move will work in achieve its goal.


We've seen similar moves in places like New York in the past, when they sought to limit the consumption of sugary drinks for their own citizens. Though they launched a widely-criticized campaign against unhealthy sugary drinks, that ban officially ended when it was found by the highest court in New York that the move “exceeded the scope” of regulatory authority in interfering with personal autonomy.



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Tags: canada, tax, sugar, drinks
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