Evidence of meeting #51 for Health in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was sodium.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Heather Chappell  Director, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Rob Cunningham  Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Eleanor White  President, Canadian Chiropractic Association
  • Garth Whyte  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
  • Joyce Reynolds  Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
  • Stéphanie Côté  Dietitian, Public nutrition and communication/media, Nutrition reference centre of Université de Montréal, NUTRIUM
  • Barbara Kaminsky  Chair, BC Healthy Living Alliance
  • Mary Collins  Director of the Secretariat, BC Healthy Living Alliance
  • John Tucker  Director, Government and Interprofessional Relations, Canadian Chiropractic Association

4:25 p.m.

Director of the Secretariat, BC Healthy Living Alliance

Mary Collins

Right.

There hasn't been progress yet on this issue in B.C. That's something we would like to see. And we know a number of jurisdictions are involved.

You need to start with the television advertising, and also social media. We are concerned with the growth of social media. The advertising around that also needs to be addressed, which is a very new area. That's probably number one.

Another one would be looking at labelling of products to attract children—the cartoon characters. That would probably come more under federal jurisdiction because it relates to labelling. The actions with respect to schools...obviously provinces and municipalities need to be involved in taking action in that area, ensuring there isn't advertising of non-nutritious food within a school or within the jurisdiction of that school area.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Tim Uppal

Sorry, I'm going to have to cut you off. We're going to have to move on to Dr. Carrie.

February 17th, 2011 / 4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I must say, I'm really pleased to see members from my own profession here today.

I'd like to start off with a question to the Chiropractic Association.

One of the things I really enjoy about this study is I'm hearing words that 25 years ago you didn't hear that often unless you were a chiropractor, words like wellness, prevention, holistic, comprehensive approaches focusing on lifestyle, and health promotion. It seems these are the catchwords and phrases that we hear all around this table, especially during this study.

There are a lot of changes, a lot of different demands, a lot of financial challenges to our health system in general. How does the profession see its involvement evolving as changes forced by the public occur in health care? How do you see the profession working with the overall health system?

4:30 p.m.

President, Canadian Chiropractic Association

Eleanor White

Thank you for the question.

You're absolutely right, chiropractors historically have spoken to wellness. It was not always initially well received, and they moved towards more specific roles as a “back doc”. However, now we're hearing our own words echoed back to us and are being asked what we know about it.

I think the role chiropractors initially and historically have played partially depends on the fact of where we enter a treatment regime. If you consider a patient's actions, when they have any particular failing that leads to a loss of capacity or function, they will make a decision about how they want to deal with it. Typically, a patient who is used to chiropractic care will come to a chiropractor before they go to their medical doctor. If the problem is not severe, this will be a very normal response. Then the chiropractor quite often may say this is not doing well; we need further diagnostic testing. It might progress to something for which you involve other practitioners.

Chiropractors are very often and for some segments of the population the only first contact. We all have patients who don't go to medical doctors—not that we advocate that; it's their choice. So we see patients at the initial stages of many problems.

We also see them in chronic situations. The area in which we see this role expanding is really all to do with access, and as the chiropractic profession expands its scope, access is dependent upon access to educational opportunities and to clinical opportunities. Chiropractors at the moment are still somewhat outside the tent. You don't see a chiropractor when you're in the hospital; you see a chiropractor independently. It's private funding in most of the provinces—in all but one. So there are problems of access.

There are educational opportunities that need to be capitalized on. We have chiropractors all across the country who are involved in very specialized projects, who pre-screen for orthopedic situations, who are doing marvellous research. We have 10 and almost now 12 research chairs across the country dealing in various aspects of health and wellness. These need to be developed and expanded. We might look across the pond to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, where chiropractors and medical doctors go to school together until their fourth year, when they split up. They work together in hospitals and state clinics. They're reimbursed by the state, fully or partially, and very often moneys go directly to research.

Right now, in Denmark, there is a 9% clawback from the pay of the chiropractor; if they're employed in a state clinic, 9% of the payment from the state goes to a research fund for each profession. At the moment, that's generating $3 million Canadian in Denmark for chiropractic research. They're in the boat of looking for researchers. We in Canada fund our chiropractic research from the chiropractors' pockets alone, and we are looking for money—and we have piles of researchers.

So I think there are benefits in those examples to the whole field.

British Columbia's contingent made a very good point regarding collaborative care. It was also voiced by the cancer society. The chiropractic contingent, dealing primarily with neuromusculoskeletal, is a very important part of caloric consumption. Whereas you're looking after what's going in, we're hoping to help with what's going out. The utilization of our foodstuffs and how we act in our fun, in our leisure, in our jobs is very important, and chiropractors improve the capacity of an individual to function more fully.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Okay. Well, thank you very much for that.

For my second question I'd like to go to the restaurant association. I took some of the previous testimony we've had here as your being slammed a little bit.

Given my profession, I actually have to go to a number of different restaurants. I always look around and look at different menus, and some of them have caloric counts on them or have various little “heart healthy” emblems.

In some of the things that have been brought forward—you mention things such as calories versus nutritional content—I can see that your association.... And I want to thank you for contributing to everything the government is doing—you mentioned the sodium group. But when I go to restaurants, quite often I see salt and pepper shakers right there. If their food doesn't taste good or isn't flavoured well, what do people typically do, if they have salt and pepper on the table?

4:35 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Garth Whyte

Personally, I don't use salt from the table, but people do, so what do you suggest?

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

What do I suggest?

4:35 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Garth Whyte

Do you suggest we take away the salt and pepper?

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

I'm just saying that the reality is that people in a free country, in their homes, have salt and pepper, and it's all about flavour and choice. So I can see some of the challenges because of its use for flavour, preservation, and things along those lines. There have been people who say that you have to be very strict on these regs.

You mentioned calories. I was wondering whether you could let us know how expensive it would be for the industry to check all these different meals, especially for mom-and-pop restaurants. Those are the ones I like to go to. I like to go across all kinds of different ethnic groups as well. Have you ever looked at how much that would cost? I know Ontario put something in for home bakeries and stuff like that, whereby people had to mail in recipes and so on. Have you ever looked at how much it would cost to do calorie counts on all this stuff?

4:35 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Joyce Reynolds

You mean the nutritionals?

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

I mean calories.

4:35 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Joyce Reynolds

One of the things that we have focused on is providing complete nutrition information. Canada is a leader in the world in terms of the nutritional information we provide. On packaged goods, we were the first in the world. We pattern our voluntary nutrition information program after the packaged good label. We provide the operators who have signed on to our program, and it's the majority.... They provide the same nutrient values as you find on packaged food.

In terms of being able to provide it consistently, it really isn't possible for a mom-and-pop operation to do it unless they have a very standardized menu, standardized suppliers—

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Tim Uppal

Thank you, Ms. Reynolds. I'll have to cut you off there.

Mr. Dosanjh, you'll be sharing your time with Dr. Duncan?

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Yes.

I just have one question of Ms. Reynolds or Mr. Whyte, and it's a question about menu labelling—or even trans fats or even salt.

No industry ever voluntarily agrees to tough standards. The tobacco industry is still fighting—and fighting mad, sometimes. Why would you not agree to mandatory salt standards or mandatory trans fat standards? Why is there this resistance, other than the cost? I understand the cost. Ultimately, without tough standards, voluntariness doesn't usually work. It's human nature.

4:35 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Joyce Reynolds

I appreciate the question, because one of the reasons we on occasion do endorse regulations is to avoid a patchwork approach to requirements across the country.

CRFA was part of the trans fat task force. We supported the recommendation in that task force report that called for a national regulatory framework to regulate trans fat on the basis of input, not output. What has happened in the absence of federal policy is that we're getting regulations, such as the regulations we have in B.C., under which restaurants are subject to a pretty big administrative burden to prove that the products they're serving and the ingredients they buy and the food products they buy don't have trans fat in them.

We would actually prefer that trans fat be regulated at the supplier level on the basis of input and not on the basis of output. As a matter of fact, we are in favour of the recommendation in the trans fat task force report.