Queen’s Park takes a cue from Ottawa, demurs on fast-food calorie labels

Queen’s Park takes a cue from Ottawa, demurs on fast-food calorie labels

We’ve mentioned from time to time the Canadian government’s curious efforts to keep us all eating plenty of salt. A weekend story from the Toronto Star details how it’s the kind of game that the provinces can get in on too. Specifically Ontario, which is trying to figure out how to deal with the oldest and most obese population it has ever seen. The province has pretty clearly ruled out even the blandest of regulations to help Ontarians control their weight.

From the Star:

U.S. president Barack Obama’s government created a new law forcing all large restaurants to add calories on their menu boards, one part of its strategy against obesity. The changes are expected in 2012.

In Ontario? There are no plans for calorie labeling.

NDP Health critic France Gelinas twice introduced a private member’s bill to get calorie labeling. The OMA has pushed for labeling in fast food chains and high school cafeterias, to no avail.

“It is so important to educate children and parents of children regarding caloric literacy — I think it will have an impact,” said the OMA’s Kennedy.

This is, of course, a far cry from what some other governments have been up to—some U.S. states have taken far more direct action to fight obesity, especially among children. (Yes, this might be called “socialism at its best” here.) Presumably, the Ontario government isn’t considering a sugar tax or mandatory maximums on salt: Dalton McGuinty will already spend the election fighting the perception that he’s “Premier Dad.” Still, Ontario pays for health care, and obesity is going to make that more expensive in the future—calorie labelling is pretty much the least the government could do toward preventing obesity, short of nothing. But in an election year, it looks like nothing is what’s on the menu, policy-wise.

We are fat. So, what’s Ontario doing about it? [Toronto Star]

(Images: scale, puuikibeach; McGuinty, Alfred Ng from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)