Canada Makes Advances in Restricting the Marketing of Unhealthy Foods to Children

2018-05-28T19:27:37+00:00 May 15th, 2018|

In 2015, the Government of Canada committed to restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. This is a key element of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, which aims to curb the rising obesity and chronic disease rates by making the healthier choice easier for all Canadians.

Bill S-228, the Child Health Protection Act, was introduced into Senate in 2016. The purpose of this Bill is to protect children’s health by prohibiting the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children. When consumed in excess, sodium (salt), sugars, and/or saturated fat have a negative impact on health. Research has linked the overconsumption of these nutrients with increased risk of chronic disease such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes, some cancers and overweight and obesity. Children are a particular concern as part of the Canadian population as they are beginning to show risk factors for chronic disease.

Health Canada is now developing regulations to implement restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children under Bill S-228. Recently, Health Canada has provided a list of foods subject to marketing restrictions. The list of foods includes soft drinks, candies, fruit juice, sweetened beverages, sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, breads and snacks.

A wide range of techniques are used to market towards children. These techniques include use of images, colours, music, use of characters, animals, children, celebrities and movie characters. Marketing to children with these elements will be prohibited for the foods defined by Health Canada as unhealthy.

A wide range of techniques are used to market towards children including use of characters, animals, children, celebrities and movie characters.


Health Canada will continue to engage with Canadian consumers and industry experts in developing regulations to protect children from the harmful impacts of unhealthy food advertising. Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback to Health Canada on its detailed regulatory proposal when it is published later this year.

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