(Oct. 16/12) With prorogation of the Ontario legislature on Oct. 15, the omnibus bill brought forward by NDP MPP France Gélinas died on the Order Paper. The bill would have required calorie posting and identification of high-sodium items on menus and menu boards and would have applied to restaurants with annual sales of at least $5 million and five or more units in Ontario.
CRFA met with Ms Gélinas on the same day that the Legislature was suspended and it is expected the bill will be re-introduced as soon as it resumes. We will encourage government to vote against this omnibus bill, and instead, continue working with Ontario to push forward a national solution that provides nutrition information prior to point of purchase for the largest, most standardized chains.
Government is awaiting recommendations from the Healthy Kids Panel – expected before the end of the year – before indicating support of a voluntary approach (like B.C.’s Informed Dining program) or regulation of menu labelling. CRFA presented the merits of our approach to the Panel on Oct. 10.
The City of Toronto has initiated a pilot project to test the feasibility of providing nutrition information to customers on an ongoing basis at point of purchase – for both chain and independent restaurant operators. The City is focused on supplying consumers with fat, calorie and sodium content.
CRFA is urging officials to follow the provincial lead and review the voluntary Informed Dining program. We are also encouraging the City to provide similar administrative support to the Informed Dining model for independent operators who are interested in providing nutritional information.
The pilot is scheduled to start in January 2013.
Ottawa is also investigating its authority to require nutrition information posting.