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One province is introducing Canada’s first sugary drink tax

One province is introducing Canada’s first sugary drink tax
/ seksan Mongkhonkhamsao / Moment / Getty Images

Newfoundland and Labrador will become the first in Canada to implement a sugary drink tax.

It’s all part of an effort to make Newfoundland and Labrador one of the healthiest provinces in Canada by 2031 and according to the government, the sweetened beverage tax is set to be introduced as early as next September.

Finance Minister Siobhan Coady told reporters the tax will hike prices on drinks with added sugars by 20 cents a litre. The tax will be collected by wholesalers and self-assessing retailers and applies to a wide range of products such as bottled soda and fruit-flavoured drinks, concentrated drink mixtures like flavoured powders and dispensed beverages like fountain and frozen slush drinks.

"Over half of Newfoundlanders and Labradorian residents aged 12 years of age and over have at least one chronic disease, and many people live with more than one," Coady said. The province's tax, if passed in the legislature, will be the first in Canada to specifically target sugar-sweetened beverages, she added.

The tax does not apply to drinks sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners, such as diet drinks, 100 per cent natural fruit or vegetable juices, ingredients intended to be used in cooking or food preparation, and drinks prepared at the point of sale, like coffee and tea.

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