Cities and towns are doing more and more to promote the health of their citizens. The policies adopted and the initiatives undertaken by certain Quebec municipalities to improve food options can be a source of inspiration. This is why it is important to share these significant advances.
On August 19, 2013, the town of Granby adopted a food policy banning deep-fried food and energy drinks from its establishments. The town also aims to diversify and promote healthy food options.
The City of Sherbrooke adopted the Politique alimentaire pour les infrastructures sportives, les événements et les fêtes populaires (Food policy for sports facilities and public events and festivities) on February 4, 2013.
This policy comprises the following five guidelines:
The Politique alimentaire de la Ville de Gatineau. Pour des choix santé! (City of Gatineau food policy in favour of healthy choices) was adopted on March 29, 2011. Its aim, in particular, is to broaden food options by integrating food that is both appetizing and nutritional. It also provides for the possibility of banning foods high in sugar, salt or trans and saturated fats, in certain cases.
Policy guidelines stipulate that food option changes be made gradually and with the participation of all the stakeholders affected. They also state that the proposed nutritional foods must be economically accessible.
This Montreal borough adopted a Policy to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle for the purpose of setting guidelines for food options, promoting healthy foods and beverages, and eliminating foods containing trans fat in all municipal establishments under its jurisdiction and at events organized by the borough or by public promoters on its territory.
Effective September 1, 2010, this policy aims to create a food environment that promotes healthy foods free of trans fat, thus facilitating healthy food choices. For more information, see Part 1 of this policy.
In September 2006, the Verdun Municipal Council adopted the policy titled “Bonne bouffe” (Healthy eating) in its indoor and outdoor facilities. This policy seeks to improve food options by calling for, among other things, an increase in the proportion of foods recognized by Canada’s Food Guide and the promotion of these products. It advocates, for example, for the elimination of products containing trans fat and for the progressive replacement of soft drinks with healthier beverages.
Certain municipalities have chosen to begin by taking a simple but significant first step in the interest of young people’s health: ban the sale of energy drinks in municipal buildings.
On October 17, 2011, Amqui became the first town in Quebec to pass such a resolution. (The resolution was adopted unanimously!) Since then, this engagement has been copied by other Quebec municipalities, thus creating a movement that is gaining more and more momentum.
* This regional county municipality (RCM=MRC) represents the following cities : Albanel, Girardville, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Péribonka, Saint-Augustin-de-Dalmas, Saint-Edmond-les-Plaines, Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc, Saint-Eugène-d’Argentenay, Saint-Stanislas, Saint-Thomas-Didyme, Doldean-Mistassini, Normandin
Some municipalities have prohibited the sale of energy drinks through a more comprehensive food policy.
In order to simplify matters for municipalities that would like to ban the sale of energy drinks in their establishments, a model resolution has been made available to them. Each municipality can adapt it to its specific needs. To download the model resolution, click here.
Making water fountains more accessible can be highly beneficial not only for the health and quality of life of the population, but also in terms of waste reduction, sensible resource management and the promotion of public water.
Besides being in sync with the spirit of the “Virage bleu” (Go blue) movement embraced by various institutions, this measure is also very popular, as evidenced by the fact that 96% of the population deems it important to have access to a water fountain in public places. However, nearly 50% of Quebecers find that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) are easier to come by than a water fountain when they wish to quench their thirst.
Enabling healthy hydration
Though over-consumption of SSB is strongly associated with obesity, poor dental health, and several chronic diseases, our food environment tends to encourage the consumption of these beverages.
Facilitating access to water fountains makes it possible to offer citizens a genuine healthy, economical and eco-friendly hydration option. Increasing the number of water points in public places can be beneficial for municipalities as well. Indeed, such a measure can help reduce the use of single-use containers, such as water or SSB bottles, which ultimately end up in municipally managed community recycling depots or garbage dumps.
To mark World Water Day on March 22, 2015, the Quebec Public Health Association, the Weight Coalition and Eau Secours!, the Quebec coalition for responsible water management, developed a model resolution that can be adapted to the specific needs of any setting in order to facilitate access to water fountains in public places.
Saint-Basile-le-Grand in the Montérégie region undertook to launch the movement by being the first city to pass this resolution. It did so on April 7, 2015, by unanimous consent. The towns of Amqui and Boisbriand were quick to follow suit.
In order to promote water as the number one hydration choice at special events, the City of Longueuil has set up a system of mobile water fountains.
The Montreal borough of Plateau Mont-Royal has installed new devices that make it possible for citizens to drink from fire hydrants. Approved by the City of Montreal Water Department and Fire Safety Department, the Bornéo systems helps make drinking water more easily accessible, which can contribute to the healthy hydration and wellness of the population.
Municipalities that have passed such a resolution:
In order to simplify matters for municipalities that would like to facilitate access to water fountains in public places, a model resolution has been made available to them. Each municipality can adapt it to its specific needs. To download the model resolution, click here.
Please feel free to contact Anne-Marie Morel, Public Policy Advisor: