In February 2014, the Ontario government introduced Bill 59
Healthy Decisions for Healthy Eating Act (the
"Bill") that, if passed, would have
required all persons who own or operate a food service premise that
has a minimum of five locations in Ontario and gross revenue of
over $5 million to post calorie and sodium content for each item on
their menus/menu boards in the same typeface and font size that is
used to list the price. The Bill specifically included a franchisor
as a person who owns or operates a food service premise.
Under the Bill, food service premise owners or operators would
also have been required to have available brochures containing more
detailed nutritional information on each menu item, and flagging
each high or very high sodium item.
With obesity a growing issue in North America, the Bill was
introduced in hopes of discouraging poor food choices by consumers
Due to the recently called Ontario election, the Ontario
legislature has now been dissolved and the Bill has died on the
order paper. However, the Bill reflects a trend that is already
underway in the United States. Since March 23, 2010, American
retail food establishments with 20 or more locations have been
legally required to list calorie content information for standard
menu items on restaurant menus and menu boards, including
drive-through menu boards.
The trend towards addressing these concerns through legislation
in Canada means that it is only a matter of time before Canadian
franchisors and franchisees are required to post food content
information for the benefit their patrons.
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