In an effort to promote health, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador plans on introducing the country's first tax targeting sugary drinks. According to CTV, the province will roll out the tax in 2022.
Finance Minister Siobhan Coady told reporters that the tax will hike drinks with added sugars by 20 cents a litre beginning in September 2022. the tax is expected to bring in $9 million a year and will be applied on top of provincial sales tax.
"Over half of Newfoundlanders and Labradorian residents aged 12 years of age and over have at least one chronic disease, and many people live with more than one," Coady said. The goal of the tax is to make Newfoundland and Labrador the healthiest province by 2031. "Newfoundland and Labrador spends an estimated 2.8 percent of its total annual food and beverage expenditures on sugar-sweetened beverages," Coady said. "This is the highest in Canada."
Taxing sugary drinks has previously been a divisive issue, but Valerie Tarasuk, a professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto, welcomed the move. In addition to teaching, Tarasuk is a principal investigator with Proof, a research team looking at food insecurity and policy in Canada.
"I think the effort here is laudable, in that people are hopefully going to see a message communicated by the provincial government that these are bad choices -- that this isn't the beverage of choice," Tarasuk said.