Federal and Ontario legislation to overhaul in-store
advertising requirements and on-pack labelling disclosures
For the first time in a while, there are some sweeping new
labelling disclosure requirements coming into play for the food
industry, at both the Ontario and federal levels.
In Ontario, the Healthy Menu
Choices Act, will come into force on January 1, 2017. This new
legislation will require food service providers with 20 or more
locations in Ontario to display the calories in food and beverage
items. Additional disclosures may also be required by the
regulations, which are still pending. These disclosures will need
to appear in multiple locations, including on menus, at least one
piece of in-store signing, and food items that are put out on
Additionally, the federal government is
closing in on a conclusion to a years-long consultation process and
overhaul of food labelling requirements. While progress is being
made, a transition period of 5 years is currently contemplated,
which will hopefully leave sufficient time for affected parties to
update processes and labels.
The proposed federal changes are
primarily focused on the layout and content of food ingredient and
nutrition facts table disclosures on pack – see the
illustration below. If passed, ingredients lists will soon be
revised with mandatory titles, as well as a standardized format and
style, including bulleted ingredients, borders, and
The federal overhaul also contemplates
changes to the types of "core" nutrients that must be
declared in the nutrition facts tables, as well as the nutrient
daily values. Sugars and sugars-based ingredients will be grouped
together as one field, with each source of sugar listed in one
sub-list, and given their own daily value in the nutrition facts
table. The details about any colouring agents will also be required
to be provided in more detail. Notably, the changes will allow
fruit and vegetables to be advertised in association with a newly
approved claim about the associated reduced risk of heart
These types of changes to labels and
advertising do not come without significant costs. Businesses
should prepare accordingly for revisions to packaging, in-store
menus and signage. For some products, the changed focus on certain
nutrients could also necessitate product re-formulation. These
regulatory updates will need to be budgeted for, but consider
aligning these changes with other business interests. If it is time
for an overall branding renovation, why not use the new regulatory
requirements as an perfect excuse to bump this up on the to-do
Proposed federal changes:
This is a copy of an excerpt from the
Canada Gazette, Part I consultation on proposed food label
changes, an official work published by the Government of
Canada. This article was not produced in affiliation with, or with
the endorsement of, the Government of Canada.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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