Fat Tax On Canadian Junk Food?

Junk food cravings may become harder to afford if a new law is passed. Canadian researchers suggest a tax be placed on all junk food in an effort to curb the obesity epidemic that is gripping the country.

Lead researcher and author of the paper, Dr. Mark Eisenberg says obesity related deaths and illnesses can be reduced if the government steps in. Dr. Eisenberg and his co-authors listed out several ideas on how legislation can take control of the rising number of obese people. Obesity is frequently blamed for the number of Type 2 diabetes cases as well as an increase of people diagnosed with heart disease.

One of those suggestions was placing a tax on junk food. The idea behind the fat tax is to make junk food so expensive a person would opt for something else to spend their money on. Researchers and government officials realize the tax is a drastic measure and will be met with heavy disapproval, but say it is necessary.

The authors are asking the government to make neighborhoods safer to boost outside activities. A ban against trans-fats is also mentioned in the paper. The proposed actions mimic those currently being put into place in the United States and the UK.

Fat Tax Coming to Candadian Junk Food?

Fat Tax Coming to Candadian Junk Food?


  1. hina says:

    good works for me

  2. mike says:

    Only people tht are over weight should be charged this tax,its easy to see obese people so i cant see a prob with it or dont allow them in fast food restaurants at all

    • Tammy says:

      That is a silly comment. Only overweight people should be taxed? First of all, not all overweight people appear overweight because they stuff their faces with icecream and chips. Some of us suffer from diseases that cause abnormal weight gain. I have a very severe case of thyroid disease and I am normally thin. I have gained 100 pounds in the past year because of a MEDICAL condition!!! Also, do you think junk food is good for people who have a high metabolism? Junk food is not good for anyone, skinny or fat! Go ahead and apply the tax and while they are at it, raise the tax on booze, smokes, gasoline and all other items that cause health issues or destroy the environment.

    • Zarq says:

      Obesity isn’t always caused by poor eating habits

  3. danR says:

    How on earth do you define ‘junk’ food? fat?: Camembert?, canned sardines?, Cream?

    Sugar?: um…how ’bout…sugar? honey?

    Pie crust? Mom’s Apple Pie?

    Whipped Cream?

    Let people use their common sense. If they have none, too bad for them. Junk food is centuries old. Our ancestors ate all kinds of garbage. Move on…

    • dillon says:


      You’re incredulous towards demographical correlations and anything practical, right?

    • dillon says:


      Also, if you can’t eat properly you should be taxed because you’re costing us in healthcare who can take care of ourselves.

      Oh my god. Did it just strike you that irresponsible choices affect those around you? This must be a momentous revelation for you.

      • John says:

        Our government demands we eat poorly via its Canada Food Guide. All of the science shows insulin causes fat storage and our whole idea of what ‘healthy’ food is promotes hyperinsulinemia, hence our obesity epidemic. The many thousands, if not millions, around the world adopting high fat low carb diets are showing the truth of the science. Down 30 lbs and counting with great lipids. Bring on the bacon!

  4. scott B says:

    This is just a tax on the poor. Again..

    • kd says:

      A tax on the poor? I hope you are not saying that all Obese people are POOR, because I beg to differ. But it is an extra tax that is unwarranted and STUPID.

    • Zarq says:

      This is not a tax on the poor it’s a tax on the lazy.

      Make your food from scratch and you’ll not pay a penny in taxes, how do I know..because I live it. Look at your grocery bill.

      Why should I have to pay for the heart attack buddy next door had because his staple meal was mcd’s.
      Universal health care shouldn’t have to pay for it. If it’s damaging to your health you should pay more.. just like the fools that drink and smoke.

  5. Jay says:

    Junk food is already taxed (GST/PST/HST). What is next, a tax on breathable air? Big Brother is getting out of hand!

  6. Sat says:

    Good move. The pack of potato chips which sells for $2 should be priced at $ 20 or above. Only then the people will under stand. They are too innocent and immature that they will need a force to do something useful.

    Hi danR ! if our ancestore were eating junk for centuries then they were also doing physical work and burning those calories. Theya did not used mercedes and BMW’s to move their butt from home to work or anywhere else like us these days

  7. eddie says:

    If governement intervention is needed anywhere it’s in making ‘healthy’ foods more affordable, not in making junk food more expensive via taxation…. The cost of fresh produce has risen quite substantially to the point where some ppl have no choice but to purchase what would likely be considered ‘junk’. That choice is not necessarly because they want to consume those foods, but becasue it’s simply the economical chioce.

    • Shone says:

      I would rather see the tax then have it for Health care rather then eliminate or lower the tax for healthy fruits and veg. Health care needs the money, and since these packaged junk foods are a large cause of more stress on the health care costs in this country, I wold totally agre with it. I understand what you mean, that you would rather lower the cost of healthier choices, however I cannot see how it will help ease the financial stress we are currently facing on the health care costs.

  8. Sean says:

    BS. Just stop providing health care services to the obese. Why should I have to pay MORE for something I don’t abuse? I ticks me off that I currently subsidise these people through taxes for health care … now they want me to pay more???

    The tax has good intentions but won’t stop people from getting fat.

    • Steeplejack says:

      I recommend a further tax on smugness. There seems to be a lot of that here. Country would make a fortune.

  9. Neighbour says:

    Tax’s Here, Tax’s There, Tax’s Everywhere.

  10. Jason Macko says:

    This is a ridiculous idea, and misguided social engineering. For people that are responsible about their diet, it’s a slap in the face, because they consume the target (food) of this new proposal sparingly and reasonably, so in effect you are punishing them for the occasional treat. For those who are irresponsible, you are just forcing them to pay more for something they are going to purchase anyway. Message to the liberal elites: stop trying to get in the way of evolution, and future generations will be thankful for the reduced baggage. Three generations are enough!

  11. LL says:

    How about making fruits and veggies, good food more affordable to eveyday people instead of putting another tax on something like junk food

    • Paul says:

      …and make sports equipment, gym memberships, etc tax deductable. Unless of course, the motive aren’t altruistic and are in fact, another “tax grab”.

    • Jan says:

      I agree with making fruits & veggies more affordable to all people, young, older and seniors and keep educating them. Fat tax won’t work, high taxes on smokes do not stop the smokers, they just have less to spend on other stuff like good food and it will be the same with a fat tax.

  12. Mike says:

    Why not something like a gas guzzler tax? Stores could have a scale built in to the floor next to the cashier along with a laser to measure heigth. If more than 20% overweight then an additional 25% guzzler tax could be applied except maybe for fruit, vegetables and meat but only if non processed (ie real food)

  13. Peter says:

    Vote for NDP on May 2nd, and you will see plenty more of these “caretaking” taxes put in place for “our own good”, since we are mindless automatons that can’t function without nanny governments.

  14. SeeDub says:

    This borders on insanity.

    Dr. Eisenberg – what do you qualify as being an “obesity related disease”? Or is that all disease.

    Obesity is not the cause of any disease that I am aware of. Causal link implies something more than casual correspondence. Diabetes affects many, and certainly more obese than not. Is junk food the cause of the diabetes?

    No. The person and their behaviour is.

    They would be well off with psychological counselling.

    It really does have me wondering though… whose back pocket is Dr. Eisenberg in?

    That would be interesting to know.

  15. Ang says:

    This is so stupid, It’s not my fault that most overweight people can not control their eating habits and are not active enough to make it count. Put down that bag of chips and get your lazy butts off the couch eventually you’ll be able to see your feet again without bending over

  16. Hilander says:

    Are you f’ing kidding me? What the hell kind of idiots are running this country … oh wait, right … Harper. Or should I say Bush Jr.

  17. Danicus says:

    Not everyone is obese because they overeat so notions like denying them healthcare are very narrowminded. I have hypothyroidsm and very severe arthritis. I swim ten kilometeres a week (the only safe exercise I can do) have barely lost any weight despite exercising much harder than most “skinny” people. Tired of being judged by self righteous people without a clue what’s it like to have issues like that. The healthiest foods we can eat are not affordable in any case. Surely starting by making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable would be less draconian.

  18. Gary M says:

    …And maybe the government should reduce the cost of healty foods too!!

  19. Ches says:

    LoL yeah junk food tax .
    that will work as good as the tobacco, Alcohol, Gas, taxes did to reduce use eh.
    Also realise some peoplo dont eat junk / overeat they just arnt active as needed with more and more ways come out to harness us to our desk / couch. So before going all tax stupid lets try and think of a way to get fit . 🙂

  20. Benedict says:

    Banning trans fats is a good idea. Countries would do well to go a step further and ban a host of other food additives now.

    When it comes to choice, I dislike the fact that there’s so little choice when it comes to buying food without, chemically manufactured antioxidants, emulsifiers and preservatives.

  21. joebaling says:

    why not TAXXXX the americans corporations for bringing these shithole infested chain restaurants….so much for free trade eh??

    since that free trade crap….that’s all were getting…shithole chain restaurants….

    • joebaling says:

      where’s them family own restaurants….them old diners….what happen to them?

      oh yeah….free trade killed it off…

  22. Colby says:

    this has nothing to do with health just more taxes if they really cared they would be doing more not just taxing people

  23. Pat says:

    Philosophically I disagree, Canada’s government is already far to involved in the lives of Canadians, the government should do schools, roads, hospitals and the army, thats it. Well some regulation is good, for example in the banking industry, Canada’s high level of regulation saved us from disaster in the latest recession but over regulation restricts the innovation that leads to future success.

    Back on topic, I would support the tax, if is was not a way to pay for all the communist BS Canada is up to, but instead a subsidy to off set the cost of healthy food. This would allow lower income families or people with many kids to still put food on the table, but heathy wholesome food.

    I agree that junk food should be more expensive then healthy food. Why should cleaned, chopped, fried, packaged chips be more expensive then say lettuce? the anwser is economy of scale, big business drives down cost and then transportation costs for fresh produce in off season.

    Call it a junk food levy, administer it by board composed of healthy food manufactuers, junk food tycoons, a goverment guy or two, and an accountant, BAM. This guy for PM in 2020.

  24. Breann says:

    this is a good thing! I know people are going to hate on this situation!… I have always wanted this to happen and it came true!… make it like 100.00 for a meal!

  25. caw mentor says:

    Why not put the blame where it belongs. For years people have had access to sugary foods, pop is over 100 years old. What’s changed is HFCS, High Fructose Corn Syrup, it’s not the same as sugar, it a modified product that does not satisfy the sweet tooth it creates, encouraging more and more consumption.

    The introduction of HFCS was the start of the massive North American weight gain, and problems with diabetes

  26. Fred says:

    Just make the doors to MacDonalds smaller. That way the obese will be kept out until they can fit through.

  27. Shawn says:

    How about making fruits and veggies, good food more affordable

  28. katzor says:

    How about tax credits for verifiable habits or activities that promote health &/or credits or penalties for jobs that promote health (office workers, coal miners, fire fighters, athletes. Ridiculous! If it’s legal leave it alone!

  29. Mahaz says:


    Its a good idea. For those people who think that this is a bad idea because they are thin, think about others. Not everyone has the same metabolism or lifestyle. They should however reduce the prices on fresh food.

  30. Real Deal says:

    The way price of …ahem….’healthy’ foods is getting out of reach for ordinary people

    how about you tackle THAT!

    cheaper to go to almost any restaurant and eat fast food

    how about we just tax FAT people ???

    why punish one like me who is within their body index because i EXERCISE ????

    I say tax anyone who is 25% above their ideal body weight and be done with it

    you will see a lot less fat and lazy people.

  31. what the hell? says:

    why dont make a tax for everyone who are alive in canada….. all of us are hurting the our earth!!!

  32. Alex says:

    I think this type of program would only make sense if every penny of tax is put into subsidizing healthy food.

    Deterring people by raising costs wouldn’t be as effective as incentivising people by making local fruits and vegetables the drastically more affordable option.

    Even if it’s already the case, every little bit would make more people catch on.

  33. KEVAN says:

    How do you solve any problem in our society?…TAX THE PEOPLE!– yah, right… How short-sighted and ineffective

  34. Kitchenwitch says:

    Why are fat people just taxed extra for there being over weight…lord knows there’s lots of us out there

  35. Mark says:

    I’m sure the major drug companies who sell billions of $ worth of drugs to said obese people will have something to say about a tax like that…

  36. Nataliya says:

    Why don’t we make vegetable and fruit more affordable instead on increasing prices on junk food?

  37. Nataliya says:

    And why can’t we have regulation on gas prices?

  38. Jason says:

    Better idea: annual physicals conducted by government doctors. Those who are overweight are bumped into a higher tax bracket to compensate for their increased drain on the healthcare system. It would also act as a motivator to get fit.

    Makes a lot of sense imo

  39. jeff says:

    as a skinny person i dont think i should have to pay this tax….why not just tax the fat people directly…say like 5 bucks a pound and if the lose weight they get a rebate

  40. shepd says:

    Sounds like an awesome way to encourage buying groceries cross border. Most junk food keeps for months so just go to the states twice a year to buy a 6 month supply. With the way Canadian groceries are priced, you’ll get the 6 months supply for the cost of a week’s shopping trip here, anyways.

  41. William McRae says:

    Control at all levels that is the real plan and we will blindly submit and surrender.Just lay back and watch the theives take away all that is yours and they will sugar coat it and tell us it’s for our own good. Because we are so stupid that we deserve everything that is shoved down our throat. Tyranny will come at every possible angle. Goog luck sheep

  42. mike416 says:

    This is a stupid tax , its not going to stop the kids from eating junk foods , its only going to hurt the parents pockets

  43. HR says:

    VOTE for NDP 🙁
    why not subsidized for polluted air and radio-active fish from Atlantic Ocean? hhmmmmm….

  44. Greg says:

    The best thing that could happen to this country. I support it 100%!

    I take care of myself, eat well, exercise, don’t drink, don’t smoke. My blood-work says I am in tip top shape. Why should my tax dollars fund healthcare for people who eat like crap and sit on their ass, get fat, rack up the bills that put a band-aid on THEIR health problems. 80-90% of all major health issues today are directly avoidable by lifestyle. Start off by making it simple, extra tax of potato chips, candy bars and pop and send those tax dollars straight to healthcare.

    We don’t have a health care problem in this country…we have a HEALTH PROBLEM!

  45. brent says:

    At jay – they have already taxed the air, its called carbon tax. And this is just another attempt to reach in our pockets. I’m not overweight but what if I decide I want a chocolate bar its gonna cost me hst+jft? And to other comments, I agree. Will this cover lard and sugar? What about Easter chocolates and birthday cakes? If they keep taxing at this rate we won’t have enough money to buy healthy food. don’t know about the rest of you but when my 38k a yr after tax is about 30 less 13% for hst on all the items I buy, means the 26 I actually have doesn’t go far.

  46. Paul says:

    When are people going to start taking responsibility for their actions and quit blaming everyone else for their problems. Why should the government step in and do anything because some individuals have no self-control. We the Canadians are already taxed to death now and you want to add yet another tax to take even more from my pay cheque. Are you freaking nuts! The grocery stores prices are on the rise now and are almost racing the gas pump prices. Now you want to tax us even more on some or the foods we eat because someone deems them unhealthy. I’m not obese and yes I do eat some “junk” food but I also eat healthy foods too. It’s my choice and that choice should not be penalized. Someone had a good idea, why not subsidize healthy foods and make them affordable for people. It seems the unhealthy foods are more affordable for people with limited incomes. Why not make fresh vegetables, fruits and other produce available to them for a price comparable or better yet cheaper than “junk” food?

  47. jo chee says:

    more gauging for the government and industry upon an already tax burdened public!!! Bad idea for the people, good idea for those who want more money!!!

  48. Steve says:

    I agree. Out of curiousity, is the tax going to pay for the canadian jobs lost because people stop eating junk food? I have to think it will put people out of work somewhere…maybe they think an assembly line packager can now just open up their own vegetable farm… Let demand dictate the supply. Big Brother out.

  49. Trav says:

    This is totally a tax grab, and will hurt more than it will help. A lot of people don’t have the time nor the money or space to grow a garden. Food has gone up considerably and fresh food is always expensive but probably later on they will just package it in a can and sell it cheaper. We need the farmers and consumers to start buying more local….

    My body is ok at handling a good amount of sugar, but the new sweetener of choice seems to be high fructose corn syrup. I think we are over “corned”

    Another way to think about it….. if you feed almost any livestock corn, it’s going to get fat and put on weight. The farmer now makes more money per animal due to weight. I read a study once where they tried to beef up the weight on cows by feeding them coconut oil. To the surprise of many the cows became skinnier and healthier.

    Now we have cows that have been feed corn to be fat, to make hamburgers…. a lot of ketchups and sauces carry the high fructose corn syrup…. guess what, that is on top of your corn fed cow, and on your deep fried fries (fried in corn oil?).

    The 70’s seem to be a lot skinnier, healthier and the sugar was really sugar.

  50. Zarq says:

    I totally agree!!! High fat foods should carry higher taxes ESPECIALLY in a country with universal healthcare. When I go grocery shopping I rarely pay taxes on my food..Why, only because I avoid unhealthy, processed foods. Fat tax, only the people that eat it often will be offended. Don’t like it, pay for your own heart attack!

  51. Don says:

    A well-thought-out tax could improve things: say if a tax on products with trans-fats made this an uneconomic choice for manufacturers. But a broad-tax on junk food won’t work.

  52. Ivan says:

    How ridiculous. There is no way to define “junk food” that makes legal sense. It would be easier to increase the tax on couches and televisions and would make more sense. You cannot regulate how much people eat. It would be far more effective to provide incentives to get off the couch by removing taxes on exercise options such as gym memberships, bicycles, tennis racquets and so on. It’s nothing more than another tax grab and I despise those that take me for an idiot and expect me to believe otherwise.

  53. Corinne says:

    Taxes are normally used to pay for something such a service… why are we wanting to put more money in the governments’ pocket ! We pay enough taxes we don’t need more taxes ! Can barely afford to drive to work to pay for the taxes as it is. How about tax the rich people for it…if you can afford a personal trainer then you can pay for the fat !

  54. kathy says:

    if that’s the case, make healthier food cheaper!

  55. paul says:

    I agree with this – tax all junk and processed foods. BTW you can already buy fresh fruit and veggies cheap, drive out of your cities and go visit the rural farms selling the produce on road side stands and farmers markets. Yes i know it means travelling out of your comfort zone for a while. Lots of veggies like potatoes , turnips rutabagas etc last well into the winter , you can also pickle certain produce and freeze others. This is what i do. Flour , sugar , mile etc is cheap , make your own bread, muffins etc etc. All it takes is a bit of imagination.

    Also , drop tax on gasoline and hosehold enery bills and double taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

    The necessities of life should be cheap , the rest you pay for !

  56. steeplejack says:

    Replace the word “tax” with “punish” and you have a better idea of where the support for this is coming from. It has nothing at all to do with health care costs because there would be a lot more things needing to be taxed in that case. It’s simply a case of a bunch of assholes who think overweight people spoil their view. The comments I see on here have nothing to do with any concern over health, just a glint-eyed need to punish others.

  57. paul says:

    Healthy food is already cheap , in norfolk county I buy potatoes at $10 for a 50lb sack, giant quashes are 50c each , tomatoes are $8 a bushel , a dozen sweetcorn is around $4 , $2 for a pound of fresh green beans. 36 fresh eggs are $6 , a fresh free range chicken (plucked and cleaned) is around $10, 1/2 pig butchered ready for the freezer is about $60 and 1/2 cow butchered ready for freezer is about $250.

    Stop goingt o grocery stores for the basics !

  58. vicky says:

    goverment of the day.ruin our healthcare ,put all our eggs into the auto industries,oil giants poluting our waters etc. until there is nothing left;so now whats there big idea lets tax ,but not the rich, no money with the poor they are on welfare:ah but the working class how about a new fat tax.we care about thier health;now there’s a novelty.now canadians our duty to keep them in the life style thier accostume to

    • vicky says:

      awaiting moderation meaning what????

      • paul says:

        are you serious ?

        awailing moderation means …. a moderator will be reviewing (look at) your post ( what you have just typed) to make sure it is suitable (no swearing or rude comments) for this site (the website you are staring at).

        that clear it up for you ?

  59. Dom R says:

    Instead of taxing the people buying the products why not start fining companies that make the products until they meet acceptable standards of nutrition. Of course, whether you tax the people or fine the producers the job losses will be heavy across the country because loss of revenue or increase in production costs always equals job losses. If the strategy does not include a solution for that eventuality, they better sit down and think this over a little bit more.

  60. paul says:

    Ill also add after thinking about this topic for a while this evening that you all should be thoroughly disgusted with yourselves. Being in the forces in my younger years i have travelled around the world more than most and when i moved to ontario from British Isles 15 years ago it was because i wanted a better place for my family to grow up. You people do not realise how well you have it here , you live in paradise compared to 90% of the rest of the world. It would do you all good to travel and open your eyes. I have seen a family of 5 in Ethiopia work all day for 1 cup of unsanitary rice and a loaf of bread, and then had the family leader come to me and offer me a chunk of their loaf while i was on duty watch. i have seen thousands of people sleeping on the streets in Delhi India , i have seen kids go to school in Dubai 30 minutes after a criminal was executed in their school playground and the bloody water was still there from the poor attempt to clean it up. All of you are spoilt , arrogant and completely unaware how good you have it here. Of all the places i have seen human poverty i have never heard a word of complaint from the people that suffer it on a day to day business. You all make me sick !!!

    • vicky says:

      i’m a 90 something woman and i’ev live through the depression. i’ev seen the have and the have not.can you say the same?????what i call greed &it’s starts with our goverments who else has the power to change things