Forward Regulatory Plan 2021-2023: Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations Restricting the Advertising to Children of Foods that Contribute to Excess Consumption of Sodium, Sugars and Saturated Fat

Title of Regulatory Initiative

Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations Restricting the Advertising to Children of Foods that Contribute to Excess Consumption of Sodium, Sugars and Saturated Fat

Enabling Act

Food and Drugs Act


As outlined in the 2019 Minister of Health’s mandate letter, Health Canada has continued to “work to introduce new restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverages to children”. There has been growing concern about the negative impact that the advertising of foods to children, particularly those that contribute to excess consumption of sodium, sugars and saturated fat, has on their health.

Regulatory cooperation efforts (domestic and international)

A number of international jurisdictions have taken action to restrict the advertising to children of foods altogether or restrict based on nutrient criteria.

In Canada, Quebec is the only jurisdiction to have put in place legislative restrictions on all commercial advertising directed at children under Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act.

Some members of the Canadian food industry voluntarily limit some food advertising to children through the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.

Health Canada is considering domestic and international regulatory regimes, alongside scientific evidence and expert advice, in the development of a proposed national model.

Potential impacts on Canadians, including businesses

The proposed restrictions would aim to reduce child-directed advertising of foods that contribute to excess consumption of sodium, sugars or saturated fat, resulting in the development of healthy eating habits and, ultimately, lower risk of obesity and related chronic diseases in adulthood.

The proposed restrictions would apply to companies and entities involved in advertising food to children or those intending to do so. This includes, but is not limited to, food manufacturers, producers and importers, food retailers and restaurants, broadcasters, as well as advertising and marketing agencies.


A pre-consultation on policy options was held from June 10 to August 14, 2017. A report summarizing the comments received was published on December 8, 2017.

On November 5, 2018, Health Canada hosted an engagement session with industry stakeholders to share information and to hear their perspectives on a proposed approach as well as the Department’s cost-benefit analysis methodology.

Engagement sessions were also held in December 2018 with industry and health stakeholders to discuss and seek feedback on the first draft of a guidance document associated with the proposed approach. The draft guide was broadly distributed to stakeholders for feedback in winter 2019. A summary of stakeholder comments was made available by request on June 7, 2019 on Health Canada’s website. The timing of future stakeholder engagement activities is to be determined.

Further information

An overview of meetings and correspondence to and from stakeholders related to this and other initiatives under the Healthy Eating Strategy is publicly available on the “Meetings and correspondence on healthy eating” webpage accessible through the website.

Additional information may be requested from the departmental contact.

Departmental contact information

Bruno Rodrigue
Executive Director
Office of Legislative and Regulatory Modernization
Policy, Planning and International Affairs Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch
Health Canada

Telephone: 613-946-6586

Date the regulatory initiative was first included in the Forward Regulatory Plan

April, 2021

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