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Summary of April 2017 MOHLTC Webinar on the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015

April 6, 2017

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s (MOHLTC) Population and Public Health Division provided a webinar on Ontario’s Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015 (HMCA).

The webinar covered: 

  • An overview of the HMCA
  • Division of responsibilities
  • Available Ministry supports
  • Public education campaign surrounding the HMCA
  • Frequently asked questions

The HMCA

As of January 1st, 2017, under the Act, food service premises with 20 or more locations must: 

  1. Display the number of calories for every standard food item listed or depicted on menus
  2. Display contextual statements regarding daily calorie requirements

Further details, such as definitions of “food service premises”, “standard food items”, “menus” and the contextual information can be found in O. Reg. 50/ 16). Exemptions are also detailed and listed within the legislation. 

Under the legislation, calories will need to be displayed:

  1. On menus on which a standard food item is listed or displayed
  2. On menus that are distributed or available outside the regulated food service premises (e.g. take out menus)
  3. On labels or tags where standard food items are put on display
  4. On signs where regulated food service premises offer self-serve items for sale 

Division of responsibilities

The MOHTLC is responsible for administering the HMCA; developing legislation, regulations and enforcement protocols and directives; designating inspectors under the Act, etc.. Industry is responsible for complying with the Act and correcting any non-compliance issues. Public Health Units (PHU) are to be responsible for enforcing the HMCA using a progressive enforcement approach. 

The MOHLTC has already provided training sessions for PHU inspectors in Ontario. Ongoing training will be provided. 

Available Ministry supports

The MOHLTC has developed the following resources to support the implementation of HMCA:

  1. An implementation guide
  2. 8 sector-specific fact sheets
  3. A Q+A document
  4. A list of food service chains w/ 20 or more locations in Ontario
  5. A one-pager document that industry can use to inform their customers
  6. A dedicated email address for inquiries: menulabelling@ontario.ca

Further resources for industry and the general public are available at www.ontario.ca/caloriesonmenus. Enforcement materials for PHU are also available to ensure consistent interpretation and enforcement of the HMCA.

Public education campaign / frequently asked questions:

The webinar finished off with a presentation on the MOHLTC’s planned public education campaign surrounding this Act, which will continue to be rolled out this year. Some FAQs (based on inquiries over the past year) were also discussed

For more information about the HMCA, visit www.ontario.ca/caloriesonmenus or email menulabelling@ontario.ca