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Results: 1 - 15 of 20
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice just announced today his intention to delay by one year the expansion of the medical assistance in dying legislation to those suffering solely from a mental illness. We know that medical assistance in dying is a complex issue and very personal for many Canadians.
Can the minister explain the reasons for his decision?
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to congratulate Roberto Luongo, former Florida Panthers goaltender, on his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
A native of my riding of Saint-Léonard who also grew up on my street, Roberto Luongo is known for his on-ice butterfly style of goaltending and remains one of only three goaltenders in history to have played over 1,000 games in the NHL. He is a recipient of multiple awards, mentions and trophies. He has appeared in three Winter Olympics and won gold twice, in Vancouver in 2010 and in Sochi in 2014.
Beyond his considerable hockey skills, Roberto Luongo is also a man with a big heart who has actively participated in multiple fundraisers for charitable causes and who has sponsored events for underprivileged children. Lou, as he is affectionately called by his devoted fans, continues to inspire our constituents who skate and hold their hockey practices in the arena that proudly bears his name.
Auguri to Roberto Luongo, our number one hockey player.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Concussion Awareness Week is being marked across the country this week.
It is estimated that 46,000 children and youth were officially diagnosed with a concussion by hospital emergency departments in 2018-19 after suffering an injury while being active.
Could the Minister of Sport please tell us what our government is doing to reduce the number of accidents as much as possible?
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today in support of my private member's bill, Bill C-252, known as the child health protection act, which aims to help the youngest and most impressionable Canadians maintain and improve their health by restricting the advertisement of certain foods to them. I am confident that hon. members in this chamber can agree on the harms that diets with excessive amounts of sugar, sodium and saturated fats can have on the health of Canadians.
Research has shown time and again that unhealthy diets with excessive consumption of these nutrients of concern are linked to a higher lifetime risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic diseases. We also know that developing healthy eating habits early in life is important to help protect children from developing these health problems in adulthood.
Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on food advertising in Canada by the food and beverage industry. Evidence shows that food advertising strongly influences children's food preferences and consumption patterns. Children in Canada are exposed to thousands of food advertisements every year across their daily settings and, unfortunately, most of these ads are for foods that contain excess sodium, sugar or saturated fats.
Opportunities to advertise to children have expanded with television and digital media. Children today are more digitally connected than ever before. Their screen time has increased and advertising directly to them has become easier. Tackling chronic diseases and maintaining public health is a whole-of-society issue and everyone has a role to play.
Since 2007, some of the largest food and beverage companies in Canada have been self-regulating certain types of food advertising to children. Recognizing that the current self-regulatory initiative did not go far enough, some industry associations have recently introduced a code. The code outlines criteria that the food and beverage industry will use to determine which advertisements are considered primarily directed at children, and it is the same industry that will determine the nutrient criteria in order to assess which foods are subject to the self-regulatory restrictions.
Although the proposed code is a step forward, it clearly demonstrates that the industry acknowledges the health consequences that food advertising can have on children. However, let us be clear. We know that voluntary codes are not enough to tackle and solve the issue. The first challenge of solely relying on industry self-regulation is simply that they are voluntary in nature. This allows restaurants, food companies and advertisers to abstain from signing on or simply to withdraw their adhesion at their convenience.
Also, criteria used for these codes often omit to stipulate important advertising techniques, tactics and sources of exposure that are known to appeal to and/or influence children. There is also a lack of transparency in the enforcement of these codes with no enforceable sanctions for non-compliance and, more importantly, it does not provide an independent monitoring.
It is clear from experience that self-regulatory initiatives do not go far enough to safeguard the health of our children. Canada's experience with industry-led self-regulatory initiatives have been similar to those of the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Spain. Research in each of these jurisdictions has clearly shown that self-regulatory marketing codes have limited impacts in curtailing children's exposure to the marketing of food and beverage products. Consequently, the U.K. and Spain are pursuing new mandatory restrictions following the observed limited impact of self-regulatory initiatives. This government agrees and believes industry self-regulation is not enough to protect children from being exposed to the harmful and incessant advertising of certain foods.
The Minister of Health's mandate includes a commitment to protect vulnerable populations, including our children, from a range of harms, such as the stream of commercial messaging and endorsements that trigger the most basic eating instincts, especially for foods containing excess levels of sodium, sugars and saturated fats. Supporting Bill C-252 is well aligned with this commitment and will help address many of the shortcomings of the current landscape of the industry-led self-regulating codes.
Our children, just like the one that is in the gallery with us today, are our priority and concrete action is needed now in order to ensure that they are not subject to and do not succumb to the aggressive advertising of foods that contain excess levels of nutrients of concern and that pose unnecessary risks to their health and the health of future generations.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I request a recorded vote.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, an investment in recreational and sports infrastructure is an investment in the health and well-being of our constituents.
Could the minister update us on what he is doing to give Quebeckers access to safe, sustainable facilities that promote recreational and sports activities in our communities?
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Canadian Heritage organized a summit on culture in Ottawa. One of the main subjects was the modernization of legislation to support our online culture. Passing Bill C-11 is key to achieving that.
However, the Conservatives would rather play politics and are doing everything they can to block this bill. Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage tell us why the cultural sector strongly supports Bill C-11?
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
moved that Bill C-252, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibition of food and beverage marketing directed at children), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
She said: Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to take part in the discussion on Bill C-252, which aims to support restrictions on commercial marketing and advertising on certain foods and beverages to children.
Today's food environment is diverse and includes access to fast foods and ultraprocessed foods, which makes it difficult for Canadians to make healthy food choices. The issue has less to do with our individual will and more to do with what foods are available and aggressively marketed to us.
The advertising of these types of foods is all around us. As a result, Canadians are exposed to and consume too many foods that contribute to excess sugars, saturated fats and sodium in their diets. It is no wonder that Canadians continue to face challenges as they navigate through the food environment and strive to make healthy eating decisions.
There is no denying that we are facing a chronic disease crisis in Canada, and unhealthy diets are playing a key role. The scope of the crisis is staggering, and unhealthy diets with excess intakes of sugar, saturated fats and sodium are a key modifiable risk factor for obesity and chronic diseases. It has been reported that, for the first time in history, we have children who have spent their whole lives eating diets high in ultraprocessed foods and of low nutritional value. In fact, Canadians are the second-largest buyers of ultraprocessed foods and beverages in the world, second only to the Americans. Furthermore, studies have shown that one in three children in Canada is overweight or obese, and as a result is more likely to develop health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, joint problems, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some forms of cancer later in life.
In 2019, dietary risk factors contributed to an estimated 36,000 deaths, and the burden of chronic diseases impacted mainly by diet and other modifiable risk factors has been estimated to cost $13.8 billion in Canada. With these alarming rates and statistics, it is undeniable that the issue of our food environment requires our attention as a growing matter of public health concern.
While a number of contributing factors influence our diet, food advertising is one of the more prevalent. Advertising has a considerable impact on children's preferences and consumption patterns. A report presented in 2016 by the World Health Organization's Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity concluded that there is unequivocal evidence that the marketing of food and beverages that contribute to excess sugar, saturated fats and sodium in children's diets has a negative impact on childhood obesity and other diseases. It recommended that any attempt to tackle this serious health issue should include restrictions on the advertising and marketing of certain foods and beverages to children.
Even before the pandemic of COVID-19, it had been reported that over 90% of food and beverage product advertisements viewed by children online, and/or on TV have been for products that are high in sugars, saturated fats and sodium content. Kids aged nine through 13 years of age get more calories, almost 60%, from ultraprocessed foods than any other age group.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the urgency of tackling unhealthy eating habits as children who were confined in their homes through the lockdowns were subjected, through various media and settings, to unhealthy diets and food and beverage ads at an alarming rate. Statistics have shown that one-third of Canadians increased their consumption of junk food or sweets just three months into the pandemic as a way to deal with the stressful circumstances.
It is widely acknowledged that children are particularly vulnerable to advertising, and succumb to its persuasive influence over their food preferences, attitudes, purchase requests, consumption patterns and overall health. Children are highly exposed to food advertising through various forms of media, packaging or displays that promote foods that contribute disproportionately to excess consumption of sugar, saturated fats and sodium. The Canadian food and beverage industry spends approximately $1.1 billion per year on marketing to children. It uses product designs, cartoons, identifiable characters, fantasy and adventure themes to market to kids.
The exposure, frequency and power of the ads can successfully reach a child as young as three years of age. Given this evidence, it is clear that the government needs to do more and take immediate action to protect children from unfair and deceptive marketing and advertising practices in order to protect their health. That is why part of the Minister of Health's mandate is to promote healthy eating by advancing the healthy eating strategy.
Evidence has shown that many factors in our food environment influence our ability to make healthy food choices, such as access to and availability of healthy food options, lower prices and the promotion of certain foods. The food we find in our grocery stores, on restaurant menus, on social media and in food advertising greatly impacts our choices. With widespread availability of foods high in sugar, saturated fats and sodium, we need to take action in order to restrict ads from targeting children.
Our government recognized these challenges in 2016 and subsequently launched the healthy eating strategy in order to make the healthier choice the easier choice for Canadians. The strategy aims to improve nutrition information and literacy, facilitate healthier food options, and protect and support marginalized and vulnerable populations.
The Government of Canada has made significant progress to date. In 2016, the government improved the nutrition facts table and list of ingredients, which helped Canadians make more informed food choices; in 2018, it prohibited industrially produced trans fats; in 2019, the revised Canada's food guide was launched, providing Canadians with relevant, consistent and credible dietary guidance; and in 2020, sodium reduction targets were published to encourage sodium reduction in food supply. However, more remains to be done.
The government is committed to advancing the outstanding initiatives of the healthy eating strategy and pursuing the implementation of preventive measures aimed at promoting healthy eating lifestyles. These include finalizing the front of package nutrition labelling to promote healthy food choices, and supporting restrictions on the commercial marketing and advertising of certain foods and beverages to children. Having the right tools to access, understand and use nutrition information will support Canadians in making healthier choices.
However, other factors, particularly the constant stream of commercial messages and endorsements, also influence what we buy. These aggressive marketing techniques are used to promote foods with excess amounts of sugar, saturated fats and sodium. Children are particularly vulnerable to food advertising and, therefore, must be provided the necessary protection for their health and well-being; marketing directed at them must be regulated. Their parents should be provided with the support needed as they help their children develop healthy eating habits and food preferences.
Bill C-252 aims to protect children's health and well-being. Bill C-252 proposes to amend Canada's Food and Drugs Act in order to prohibit any marketing of food and beverages directed at persons under the age of 13. Clause 2 of Bill C-252 adds the definition of “children”, stipulating that it means persons who are under the age of 13.
As per the FDA, “food” includes beverages, and “advertisement” is defined in broad terms, including representation by any means of 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 marketing methods. Clause 4 of Bill C-252 adds a new paragraph to the FDA, entitled “Advertising directed at children” and—
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
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.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.
The bill encompasses all types of advertising, including digital advertising. I hope measures will be taken to tackle and stop big companies from being able to target our children via digital channels, whether it be through cell phones, computers or online media.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her very relevant question.
This bill was indeed inspired by Quebec's Consumer Protection Act, which I think has been very successful. In the past, we saw this kind of advertising at amusement parks, like La Ronde, and at water parks. We need to have a system in place to determine what kinds of advertising break the law, so that we can manage and regulate them.
With regard to resources, this was done in Quebec, and we already have the evidence. Notices are sent out immediately. Then, if the advertising agencies do not take prompt action, they are taken to court. We know that rather hefty fines have been imposed in the past.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, in essence, the bill looks to restrict all types of advertising, including characters or anything that would appeal to children to persuade them to pester their parents, if I can express myself that way, to buy these products. Using mascots, logos or fantasy characters would all be restricted.
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.
As I mentioned in my speech, it has been estimated that it is costing Canadians $13.8 billion annually to deal with diseases that are compounded and related to unhealthy eating habits. I think that in the long run, investing and putting forward these types of restrictions would contribute to reducing the health care that Canadians need and reducing the costs associated to—
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we are living in an information age. With the Internet, news from around the world is available at the blink of an eye.
That being said, we must admit that there is an imbalance of power. For years now, hundreds of local news outlets have had to close their doors for lack of revenue, while the web giants literally have a monopoly on advertising revenue.
What is our government doing to provide a counterbalance?
View Patricia Lattanzio Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, our government has always supported and promoted the important role that our SMEs play in developing our local economies.
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of a family-owned business located in the heart of Saint-Michel. Founded in 1972, Casavogue specializes in the sale of high-quality Italian furniture. Its 50 years of service have been characterized by the love of high-quality products that has been passed down from father to son.
The Territo family is truly passionate about home furnishings and their profession. They are always on the lookout for new products to offer, in unique collections at affordable prices. The furniture's refined design and their outstanding customer service have earned Casavogue the consumer choice award for several years running. The Territo family also believes in doing its part to support social causes, such as foundations that fight cancer.
I want to congratulate the Territo family and wish continued success to Casavogue.
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