March 20, 2015 (Toronto) – The Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) and its members are already well ahead of recommendations included in the World Health Organization (WHO) Interim Report of the Commission on Ending Child Obesity, released yesterday. CBA members know that obesity is a complex issue. CBA members are fully committed to being part of the solution and have been working with Canadian governments and other partners to identify meaningful solutions that will address the complex public health issue of obesity, including the front-of-pack calorie labelling initiative, Clear on Calories.
In addition, CBA members adhere to and are compliant with global marketing standards that prevent marketing of beverages other than water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, and milk to children under the age of 12. Many beverage companies also participate in the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, which further limits marketing to children. Success rate of these programs is 100% in almost all categories.1
In 2004, over a decade before the WHO recommendations in the report, CBA adopted and implemented guidelines regarding beverages available for sale to students in elementary schools. In 2006, the scope of these guidelines expanded to address sale of beverages to students in middle and high schools. In accordance with the CBA’s 2006 guidelines commitment, CBA members completed their implementation of the expanded guidelines during the 2009/2010 school year.
In response to the suggestion of product-specific taxes, CBA notes that beverages in Canada are already taxed through provincial and/or federal sales taxes. Further to this, no significant public health impact has been achieved by discriminatory and punitive taxes on certain foods. Taxing food and drink is far more complicated than most advocates for new taxes will admit. Researchers have already concluded that selective taxes — such as a soft drinks tax ─ are regressive, unfair and do not effectively modify consumption patterns.2
The Canadian Beverage Association is the national trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute the majority of non-alcoholic refreshment beverages consumed in Canada. Over 58,000 individuals are employed directly, indirectly and through induced jobs in the Canadian beverage industry.
 Based on research presented by Monique Potvin Kent, PhD, Professor, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa at the 2014 CDPAC conference the beverage industry has reduced their advertising on children’s television stations to zero. According to 2012 compliance numbers measured by Canada Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, as an industry we are at:
- 99% compliance for TV advertising
- 100% for print advertising
- 100% for internet advertising
- 100% compliance for company-owned 3rd party websites and video
2 Williams R and Christ K. “Taxing Sins: Are Excise Taxes Efficient?” Mercatus on Policy 52 (2009): 1-4. http://www.mercatus.org/PublicationDetails.aspx?id=27272