Bill S-228: An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children)

The Senate has endorsed Bill S-228 An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children). The Bill, sponsored by former Olympic hero Senator Nancy Greene Raine, passed Third Reading on September 28, 2017. Liberal MP Doug Eyolfson has sponsored the Bill and introduced it in the House of Commons on October 6, 2017. 

For a summary of the Bill’s progress: 

Bill S-228 paves the way for Health Canada to ban any form of marketing (advertising, sponsorship and promotions) of what it deems to be unhealthy food to children under the age of 17 by food and beverage companies by as early as 2019. This could have serious consequences for professional and amateur sport organizations, leagues and teams in terms of future access to sponsorship dollars from food and beverage companies and advertising revenues from TV, Radio and Print partners. Regulations being considered by Health Canada could go as far as prohibiting corporate sponsors or advertisers from promoting their corporate brand if it is deemed by Health Canada that the company offers unhealthy foods and beverages in its product mix. 

With implementation of the Bill and the regulations possibly coming into effect by 2019, sport organizations and sponsored athletes could feel the impact in the coming months as contracts come up for renewal with sponsors and advertisers looking to other channels to invest their marketing dollars. 

Twenty-two million adults (80%) and 5 million children (91%) are not active enough in Canada. If just 10% of the country sat less and moved more, we would reduce health-care costs by $2.6 billion and inject $7.5 billion into the Canadian economy by the year 2040. Active sport participation is considered a means of improving overall health of the Canadian population. Additionally, when used intentionally sport plays a significant role in strengthening communities through crime reduction, newcomer integration, Aboriginal youth engagement, economic revitalization and citizen participation. 

Approximately $1.98B is spent on sponsorship in Canada. Together, professional and amateur sport, account for 53% of the sponsorship industry. Partners such as Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Coca Cola, General Mills, Pepsi, Danone, to name a few, play a significant role in sport sponsorship. It is anticipated that the number of children and youth participating in sport programs will be directly impacted if the new legislation prevents some companies from investing in sport programming.