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09/01/2022

Tax on sugary drinks begins in Newfoundland and Labrador, though not all are on board

Tax applies to beverages including sweetened pop, fruit-flavoured juices and teas, as well as sports and energy drinks.
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SUGAR TAX red Rubber Stamp over a white background.
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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Beginning today, consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will be paying 20 cents more per litre for sugar-sweetened drinks.

The tax will apply to beverages including sweetened pop, fruit-flavoured juices and teas, as well as sports and energy drinks.

Chocolate milk is exempt from the tax, as are infant formulas, yogurt drinks and diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners.

The provincial government says the tax is aimed at improving health outcomes, and officials have said they expect it to bring in roughly $9 million a year.

Jason Carter owns a convenience store just outside St. John's, and he said in an interview the implementation of the tax has been confusing and costly.

He wonders why the provincial government isn't also taxing bags of sugar or sweetened alcoholic beverages if there are concerns about how much sugar Newfoundlanders and Labradorians consume.


 

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head and shoulders photo of a woman Jessie Cristobal
Jessie Cristobal

Drink up

"While the intent of the tax is to improve health outcomes in the province, data from other jurisdictions demonstrates such taxes do not move the needle on driving change with regards to the serious problems of obesity or non-communicable diseases (NCDs) associated with weight," Jessie Cristobal, communications and public affairs coordinator at the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA), the trade organization uniting Canada’s beverage companies and stakeholders, wrote in an article for Convenience Store News Canada

Cristobal points out that "as the economy recovers after the COVID-19 pandemic, a new tax is an additional burden on businesses and individuals."

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