Madam Speaker, I shall proceed. As per the FDA, “food” includes beverages, and “advertisement” is defined in broad terms, including any representation by any means by promoting directly or indirectly the sale of products controlled by legislation.
The notion of advertisement is media neutral, which encompasses the latest technologies and evolving methods.
Clause 4 of Bill C-252 adds a new section to the FDA, entitled “Advertising directed at children”, whereby provisions and regulations will define the marketing and advertising mechanisms that would be prohibited and would be part of the bill.
Clause 7.3 allows, after five years of the adoption of Bill C-252, a review mechanism, possible by a committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament, in order to evaluate if there has been an increase in advertising of foods and beverages that contribute to excess sugar, saturated fats or sodium in children's diets in the next group of kids, that is persons who are between 13 and 16 years of age.
Lastly, clause 6 of the bill stipulates that the act would come into force one year after receiving royal assent.
By supporting Bill C-252, we are ensuring that marketing and advertising cannot bypass parents and target children directly.
To conclude, we all have an opportunity to advocate through meaningful changes to our food environment. The government has taken important steps to create conditions to make the healthier choice the easier choice for all Canadians, but still, more work remains to be done.
We are committed to advancing the remaining key healthy eating strategy initiatives to further improve the state of healthy eating in Canada and have a meaningful impact on the long-term health of Canadians. This includes taking actions to support children's healthy eating habits to mitigate risks of obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. A healthy population, including healthy children, is not only key to reducing the likelihood of serious health problems, thus requiring fewer health care services, but would also contribute to a healthy economy as well.
Some parliamentarians may recall that a similar bill, Bill S-228, was initially tabled in the Senate in 2016, spearheading the approach to introducing restrictions on advertising and marketing to children. It had passed in the Senate, was debated and amended in this chamber, and was subsequently returned to the Senate, but never reached the final vote before the dissolution of Parliament in 2019.
In the meantime, industry stakeholders have taken initiatives to tackle the issue of advertising to children, but their attempts at self-regulation have been on a voluntary basis only and lack proper monitoring. As a result, Canadian children continue to be exposed to these ads.
It is worth noting that restricting marketing to children has become mandatory in countries such as Portugal, Mexico and Chile, and Argentina and Spain are in the process of advancing new legislative regulatory initiatives. More importantly, the U.K. tabled legislation imposing restrictions on advertising of HFSS products, those that are high in fat, salt and sugar, in July 2021. It received royal assent just last Thursday, April 28, and will come into effect in less than a year, on January 1, 2023.
Dear colleagues, Canada must follow suit. The issue on hand is non-partisan, and I hope to count on the support of all parliamentarians in this House, as well as all senators, for the adoption of Bill C-252, which will benefit our children and future generations. I would like to thank the researchers, especially Dr. Monique Potvin Kent, la Coalition Poids, the Quebec coalition, the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition, the allied health agencies, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Childhood Obesity Foundation, who have worked and supported the objectives of Bill C-252 and of its prior version.
I look forward to the final implementation of Bill C-252.