We appreciate the opportunity to provide the following submission in advance of the 2024 Newfoundland and Labrador Budget.
The Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) is the national voice for more than 60 brands of non-alcoholic beverages. CBA members employ over 497 full-time employees, contribute over $48 million to the provincial GDP, and generate over $9.5 million in tax revenue to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the past five years, members of the Canadian beverage sector also invested $9.6 million dollars in local facilities.
Ten months into implementing the sugar-sweetened beverage tax, we commend your government’s commitment to improving people’s health in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, evidence continues to show that sugar-sweetened beverage taxation, will not substantially impact caloric consumption from non-alcoholic beverages. By comparison, the beverage sector’s product innovation and commitment to consumer education have effectively reduced it. Since 2004, per capita beverage calories have dropped over 35%, with no- and low-calorie options representing 60% of the market. Our members are also on track to meet the Balance Calories Initiative, that will reduce Canada’s per capita non-alcoholic beverage calories by 20% from 2015 to 2025.
To this end, the CBA recommends that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador repeal the $0.20 per litre sugar-sweetened beverage tax due to the ineffectiveness of the tax, the success of ongoing beverage sector initiatives to reduce caloric consumption and ongoing affordability challenges for Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers.
We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with the Government of Newfoundland. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a meeting to discuss our submission, please do not hesitate to contact us.