Ontario Legislates Posting Calories on Menus

On May 28, 2015, the Ontario government enacted the Making Healthier Choices Act S.O. 2015 C.7 ("Act").1 The Act, which comes into force on January 1, 2017, imposes requirements on certain food service establishments to post calorie counts on their menus.2

What You Need to Know

  • The legislation applies to any food service establishment that prepares, sells or serves meals or meal portions in a form that can be consumed immediately and that operates 20 or more establishments in Ontario under the same or substantially the same name. Together, these requirements capture a diverse spectrum of food service establishments, including chain restaurants, fast-food outlets, grocery stores, and convenience stores.
  • Establishments that meet the above criteria will be required to post the calorie content of:
    • each standardized portion of food or drink directly on the menu;
    • any food item on display on an identifying tag or label; and
    • any standardized combination of food or drink items directly on the menu.
  • Failure to comply with the labelling requirements would be a provincial offence punishable by fines of up to $1,000 per day for individuals, and up to $10,000 per day for corporations.3

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1 The Act was passed as Bill 45. The predecessor bill, Bill 162, the "Making Healthier Choices Act, 2014" was introduced on February 24, 2014.

2 The Act also contains restrictions on e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco.

3 The legislation also allows for the creation of regulations which may require additional nutritional information to be posted; for example, fat or sodium content.

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