News release: Heart & Stroke calls on Senator Pamela Wallin in effort to get Child Health Protection Act passed

Blocking Bill S-228 is an obstruction of democracy and continues to put the health of children at risk

OTTAWA - Heart & Stroke is calling on Senator Pamela Wallin to change her position to allow the passage of Bill S-228 – the Child Health Protection Act – in the Senate. Heart & Stroke has taken out ads in the Hill Times, the Regina Leader Post and the Wadena News, asking Saskatchewan-based Senator Wallin: “Why are you blocking elected MPs and senators who want to protect the health of children in Canada?” The bill would restrict the marketing (not sale, just marketing) of foods and beverages high in sugar, salt and saturated fat to children aged 12 and under. 

“Blocking the bill by preventing a democratic vote is obstruction of the democratic process and that needs to be called out. We also must correct Senator Wallin’s mistaken beliefs about the impact of the bill on Canadian farmers and industry – before time runs out and the bill dies,” said Yves Savoie, CEO of Heart & Stroke. On four occasions, individual senators have adjourned the final vote – effectively blocking it. Senator Wallin was the last senator to adjourn it, which means under the rules of the Senate, she will be the next senator to speak to it. “We are calling on her to consider the facts rather than the myths and use her position to get the bill passed,” added Savoie.

“By passing this bill, Canada’s senators can do more to help children’s health than pediatricians can do in a lifetime,” said Dr. Tom Warshawski, a pediatrician and Chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation. “The need for this bill cannot be overstated. Bill S-228 was created to alleviate the dire health implications and healthcare costs associated with this critical issue.”

Contrary to the misinformation spread by industry, the legislation will not hurt Canada’s farmers or food producers. Instead, it will encourage Canadian children and families to eat more of the abundant healthy products Canadian farmers grow and sell. The bill acts to protect children from the harmful impacts of pervasive food and beverage marketing and supports parents in instilling healthy eating habits.

Passage of Bill S-228 would bring Canada in line with many other places such as the United Kingdom and the province of Quebec, among other jurisdictions that have restricted marketing to children. This bill was introduced in 2016 by former Olympian and Conservative Senator Nancy Greene Raine as a Private Member’s Bill. It was approved unanimously by the Senate in 2017 and was supported by an overwhelming majority in the elected House of Commons (210 to 79 votes) in 2018 before being sent back to the Senate for ratification.

If the bill is not passed before the summer recess, it will die when Parliament is dissolved for the fall election. Canada’s kids and parents may have to wait perhaps another generation to be protected from such marketing.

About Heart & Stroke

Life. We don’t want you to miss it.TM That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so people in Canada don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.

For additional information, contact:

Alicia D'Aguiar
Senior Manager, Communications
Heart & Stroke
416 489-7111 ext. 24802
Cell: 613 818-0133 (before 8 a.m.)

Corrine Leon
Communications + Stakeholder Engagement Specialist 
Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition 

Shima Ghailan
Manager Communications
Heart & Stroke B.C.
778-372-8024 ext. 28024