Food In Canada

B.C. government applauded for ensuring sugary drink makers pay their way

By Food in Canada   

Food In Canada Beverages Health & Wellness Dietitians of Canada

February 20, 2020, Vancouver, B.C. – Heart & Stroke has joined with the Childhood Obesity Foundation and Dietitians of Canada, B.C. region, to applaud the B.C. government’s move to eliminate the exemption of the provincial sales tax on sweetened, carbonated beverages.

The groups said in a press release that it is a vital public health measure that starts the process of addressing the damaging impact sugary beverages inflict on the health of people in B.C.

Research conducted for Heart & Stroke in 2017 shows that 79 per cent of people in B.C. supported removing PST exemption from sugary drinks.

The groups state that the next step is to eliminate the B.C. sales tax exemption for all sugary drinks, not just pop, and for the federal government to impose an excise tax, which is built into the supply chain of sugary drinks.

Sugary drinks drive significant healthcare costs in B.C. and Canada by contributing to unhealthy weights, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and a range of cancers, and the products that trigger excessive healthcare costs offer nothing in terms of recouping their societal burden, the groups say.

Beginning July 1, 2020, the new measure will add seven per cent to the cost of a can of pop to raise an estimated $27 to $37 million in provincial tax revenue in the next two fiscal years.

In recent years, both Heart & Stroke and the World Health Organization identified sugary drinks as a key culprit in rising sugar consumption and the growth of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and obesity that can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Diego Marchese, Heart & Stroke’s executive vice-president, Western Canada, said the elimination of B.C.’s sales tax exemption on sweetened, carbonated drinks is a good start in addressing an unhealthy situation.

“We have seen how countries like Mexico and the U.K. have significantly reduced their consumption of sugary drinks by increasing the cost through taxation.”

According to Heart & Stroke, sugary drink consumption in Canada will be responsible for more than four million cases of overweight and obesity, up to one million cases of type 2 diabetes, almost 40,000 strokes and more than 63,000 deaths.

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