Temptation Be Gone Act

Ontario politician trying to stop stores from selling junk food at checkout

An Ontario MPP is trying to discourage the promotion of unhealthy foods in stores throughout the province with a new bill that would limit which products can be put on display right next to the cash register. 

NDP MPP for Nickle Belt France Gélinas, the official opposition critic for health, recently tabled the Temptation Be Gone Act in honour of Nutrition Month, and it allows the government to make regulations that restrict the sales and marketing of treats that are high in fat and sugar —  including where these products can and can't be located in stores. 

"Since the pandemic started, lines at the cash register have gotten longer as have the waits," said Gélinas in a statement. "Marketers know that strategically placing high fat, sugar and sodium foods in those line ups pay off. It's time to stop tempting Ontario's consumers to eat more junk food."

This kind of initative originated in the U.K., and Gélinas is hoping to bring it to Ontario to help people make healthier choices.

The MPP says Pharmacist Rachelle Rocha from Season's Pharmacy and Culinaria in Sudbury was the first person to bring this issue to her attention, adding that her focus on healthy, fresh foods as medicine is "simple and smart."

Rocha, meanwhile, says the bill has the potential to lead to a healthier community. 

"The evidence is mounting; there are serious health implications from the chronic consumption of ultra-processed foods, which are high in sugar, fat and salt and low in fibre. Individuals suffer, and the payors of the health care system face higher and higher costs," she said in the statement. 

"As a Sudburian born in 1970, I observed the transformation and healing of our ecosystem from a blackened, treeless moonscape to the vibrant, green community we see today," she continued.

"This happened because of responsible regulations, corporations contributing to the solutions and the community rallying behind the regreening efforts. This 'Temptation be Gone' legislation, which regulates the sale of these edible, food-like substances, gives me great hope, that we too, as individuals, and as a community, can achieve better health outcomes."

Gélinas' bill also has the support of Stephen Piazza, the senior manager of advocacy for the Canadian Cancer Society, as well as Liz Scanlon, the director at Heart & Stroke Ontario.

"Good nutrition is one of the most important contributors to good health. Heart & Stroke believes that public policy can be instrumental in encouraging healthy eating," said Scanlon in a statement. 

"That's why we support efforts to restrict the promotion of highly processed foods with high fat, sodium and sugar content. This is one important factor in making sure that, especially for children and youth in Ontario, healthy eating becomes a life-long behavior."

Lead photo by

Heather Anne Campbell


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