Sugar-sweetened Beverages and Taxation

 

Background

The Canadian population is experiencing high rates of obesity and excess weight. There is moderate quality evidence linking consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to excess weight, obesity, and chronic disease onset in children and adults. Taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages holds substantiated potential of decreasing its consumption. Based on economic models and results from recent taxation efforts, an excise tax can lead to a decline in sugar-sweetened beverage purchase and consumption. Revenue generated from taxation can be used to fund other obesity reduction initiatives.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are taxed in France, Mexico, and Berkeley (California) and in March 2016, the United Kingdom announced that it will implement a similar tax by 2018.

Position

It is the position of Dietitians of Canada that an excise tax of at least 10-20% be applied to sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Canada given the negative impact of these products on the health of the population and the viability of taxation as a means to reduce consumption. For the greatest impact, taxation measures should be combined with other policy interventions such as increasing access to healthy foods while decreasing access to unhealthy foods in schools, daycares and recreation facilities; restrictions on the marketing of foods and beverages to children; and effective, long term educational initiatives. 

Actions

Dietitians of Canada announced this position on February 9, 2016 in a release to the media. We have invited other organizations to endorse this position. 


Endorsing Agencies:
 
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Canadian Diabetes Association
Childhood Obesity Foundation
Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada
Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems 
BC Healthy Living Alliance
Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention

 

Resources

  • Federal pre-budget recommendations for Budget 2017

    (August 2016) DC's recommendations to the federal government for Budget 2017 address issues including access to dietitians through home care and community-based care, telehealth and the federal government employee health care plan; food insecurity; excise tax on SSB; national workforce data base; and nutrient database of Canadian foods.

  • Taxation and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Position of Dietitians of Canada

    (February 2016) – Dietitians of Canada has released its position on taxation and sugar-sweetened beverages. Based on moderate quality evidence, it is the position of Dietitians of Canada that an excise tax of at least 10-20% be applied to sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Canada given the negative impact of these products on the health of the population and the viability of taxation as a means to reduce consumption.